Erin McDowell’s Orange Cream Pie Is Exactly What You Want on Pi Day 2020

updated Mar 14, 2020
Orange Cream Pie

This pie is a perfect blend of the classic combination of tart, juicy citrus and silky, vanilla custard cream.

Serves8 to 10

Makes1 (9-inch) pie

Jump to Recipe
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orange cream pie with forks

It’s #piday, which also coincides, this year, with the coronavirus pandemic. Our working theory: A bakeable pick-me-up may be in order. Enter this Orange Cream Pie. It’s sure to transport you to warmer, sunnier days ahead,  while also tasting like the ice-cream- truck dreamsicles and roadside Stewart’s Orange n’ Cream sodas of your past. Even better, it’s comprised mostly of ingredients you probably have on hand.

Orange Cream Pie Is the Easiest Make-Ahead Recipe

Don’t let the multiple components fool you into thinking this is a tricky recipe; it’s deliciously achievable. It starts with a simple pie crust made from frosted cornflakes combined with melted butter and salt. There are two filling: juicy orange curd and silky vanilla custard. Both custards are made on the stovetop — remember to keep the cooking low and slow to achieve the silkiest results. 

The cold-set fillings make this an ideal make-ahead dessert (it can chill for up to 24 hours before serving). Top the chilled pie with some swoopy soft whipped cream and plenty citrus zest for an effortless finish that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. 

Recipe note: If you want to use the last of fresh oranges, tangerines, or mandarins while they’re in-season instead of the orange juice concentrate called for, start with double the amount of juice, and reduce it by half to concentrate the flavor.

Orange Cream Pie

This pie is a perfect blend of the classic combination of tart, juicy citrus and silky, vanilla custard cream.

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


For the orange curd:

  • 1/2 cup

    thawed orange juice concentrate

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 4

    large egg yolks

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

For the crust:

  • 1 stick

    (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 2 1/2 cups

    iced or frosted cornflake cereal

  • Pinch

    fine salt

For the filling and topping:

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fine salt

  • 3 teaspoons

    vanilla extract, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    cold heavy cream

  • 1/3 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1

    medium orange


  1. Make the orange curd: Place 1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 4 large egg yolks in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in 4 tablespoons unsalted butter until melted and fully combined.

  2. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into wide, shallow dish (like a casserole dish) – this will help it cool quickly. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the curd and refrigerate until fully set, at least 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make the crust.

  3. Make the crust: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Place 2 1/2 cups cornflake cereal in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add the melted butter and a pinch fine salt and pulse to combine. The mixture should hold together when pressed.

  4. Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and the sides. Bake until golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely.

  5. Make the filling: When the curd is cool, place 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium heatproof bowl and whisk to combine. Add 2 large egg yolks and whisk to combine.

  6. Place 1 1/4 cups whole milk and 1/2 teaspoon fine salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While whisking constantly, pour about 1/4 of the warm milk into the egg yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the milk and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the mixture comes to boil – a few large bubbles in the center of the pot. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon butter and mix until fully combined.

  7. Add the chilled orange curd and stir to combine. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the cooled pie crust. Smooth into an even layer, and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

  8. Place 1 cup cold heavy cream, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk to medium peaks. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the pie, leaving about 1/2 inch of custard uncovered around the edges. Garnish with the finely grated zest of 1 medium orange. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.