Chocolate and oranges have a natural affinity for each other. A lot of fruit goes well with chocolate, though, doesn't it? Who can argue with strawberries and chocolate or raspberries and chocolate? Or coffee and chocolate? Nuts and chocolate. Chilies and chocolate. Heck, even bacon and chocolate is great. Okay, so maybe it's the chocolate.
Have to admit that when I was just a young cook and came across a recipe for a mandarin chocolate pie, I was:
- incredulous and
I never had heard of the combination. My adventurous self had to try it.
There was another reason I had to try it: It was simple, easy and fast. And I had to take something to a party.
It wasn't just any party. It was the big annual summer fete at an older friend's house. I worked with the woman and because at the hospital where we worked, we two were the only non-medical professionals, we became buddies. She was the director of nutrition. I was the P.R. director.
And it wasn't just any house. My friend's husband was an architect and of course their house was unique and gorgeous. And she wasn't just any hostess. In the 1960's, she appeared on the cover of Family Circle magazine as "Homemaker of the Year."
So, you see, I felt just a tiny bit of pressure to bring a dish that was elegant and sophisticated but within my realm of capability.
Thus came the Mandarin Chocolate Pie.
When I got to the party, I took my pie and put it with all the other desserts. They all looked sumptuous and my contribution looked paltry compared to the trifles and cakes and pies.
But later while we were eating, my hostess came up to me with a woman who wanted to meet whoever made that wonderful pie! She just gushed. How did you make it, she wanted to know. What was in it? Will you send me the recipe. Here, I'll give you my address. (This was all pre-e-mail.)
So, I put this little gem of a pie in my go-to repertoire.
A few years later, my local PBS TV station was assembling a "C is for Chocolate" collection of viewer's recipes. I contributed the pie recipe.
Then I got a phone call . . . Would I like to make this pie on TV?
Of course! Tell Mr. deMille I'm ready.
I knew my husband wouldn't want to go, so I asked my mother-in-law. She was always ready for any kind of outing. Although I thought I told her that I was going to be demonstrating how to cook this on the show, it must not have registered with her. She thought we were just going to a show, not that I would be part of the show!
So that's how this little pie became what my family calls my TV pie. My 15 minutes of fame.
The recipe came from a cookbook I bought while vacationing in New Hampshire in the late 1970's. We ate at a lovely little tavern and I bought the cookbook, I liked the food so much.
Mandarin Chocolate Chip Pie
Serves 8 to 10
from Peter Christian's Recipes
3/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or 1 teaspoon orange extract)
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
Mix the eggs, orange marmalade, sugar, Grand Marnier, butter and salt together well in a large bowl. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and oranges.
Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Turn oven to 350 degrees F. and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set.