Chinese New Year Orange Trees

orange tree

Calamondin orange trees are traditionally given as gifts around Chinese New Year, sent as good-luck tokens for a fruitful and abundant year. The word orange sounds like the Chinese word for "wealth" which is where the tradition stems from.

Falling on Friday 31st January, Chinese all around the World will be welcoming the year of the horse. Businesses and homes will all be adorning their porches and sending gifts of orange trees at this special time of year, their golden colour representing the golden colour of money and often adorned with little red envelopes filled with money.

It is believed that the more laden with fruit the luckier the tree and so we are very pleased to have some very lucky trees indeed.

Our gorgeousCalamondin orange trees are currently adorned with a glut of golden fruit and will make a fantastic gift to send to loved ones this Chinese New Year.

Whilst fantastic to look at they are also delicious to eat,  their golden orange fruits can be turned into a plethora of delicious treats including this fantastic Calamondin Orange Meringue Pie which is an office favourite!

The sharp little fruits of the Calamondin orange are too sour to eat alone but they really come into their own when transformed into this festive pie.

  • Make a sweet crust pastry using 75g of cold butter cut into chunks, 150g of plain flour and 25g of icing sugar.  Put them all into a bowl and rub together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add an egg yolk and a little cold water if needed to bring them together into a bowl.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.  Once chilled roll out to line a 25cm loose bottomed tin, bake blind with tin foil and baking beans at 190C for 20 minutes or until cooked and crisp.  Remove the foil and baking beans and set aside to cool.  
  • To make the curd, start by zesting and squeezing 20 Calamondin oranges (if you don't have enough you can mix with lemon juice) mix with 120g of butter and 200g of caster sugar in a heavy pan stirring over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks (make sure you keep the whites for later) beating together and constantly stir until the mixture thickens, leave to cool slightly.
  • To make the meringue put the 3 egg whites and beat until stiff, gradually a spoon at a time add in 120g of caster sugar until you have a glossy cloud of meringue.  
  • To assemble, spoon your cooled curd into your pastry case making sure to cover the whole base.  Dollop your meringue on top and spread it roughly with a fork making sure you have plenty of wisps and pranks to go alluringly crispy.  Pop the whole thing into a hot oven (Around 200C ) and bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden.  Allow to cool slightly and remove from the tin, we like to decorate ours by surrounding the pie with with little clusters of Calamondin oranges dusted with icing sugar. 

We can't think of a more appropriate pudding to welcome in the Chinese New Year, a great dish to share with loved ones.

Monday 27th January, 2014