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This orange pudding has buried treasure

Recipe: Fresh orange custard boasts old-fashioned flavors

Orange pudding can be served in individual ramekins or dished out of a bowl.  (Photos: Debbie Arrington)
These oranges are fresh from the backyard tree.

If you like the flavor of fresh oranges, this old-fashioned custard is for you.

I love fresh oranges, which is a good thing; we have backyard citrus trees and a steady supply of sweet winter fruit.

In search of more ways to enjoy oranges, I recalled that my grandmother occasionally made an orange pudding that could double as a pie filling; it wasn’t chiffon, it was custard.

While that specific recipe still eludes me, this one comes close. The orange segments (an idea borrowed from “Joy of Cooking”) give it a fresh taste, added texture and a lot more orange flavor. The fruit is like buried treasure hidden under the rich topping.

Take some extra time to “supreme” the orange segments. Remove all the fibrous membranes by slicing the fruit sections out instead of pulling the sections apart. The trick is to use a sharp knife and cut along each membrane where it meets the juice sacs. Forming a wedge, cut along one membrane; do the same on the other side of that segment. Then, pop the segment out. It’s handy to work over a bowl to catch the segments and juice. Or you can use a cutting board to steady the fruit.

The orange supremes look pretty at the bottom of a glass bowl topped by the silky custard speckled with orange zest.

Mix together the sugar and the orange zest.

Fresh orange custard
Makes 4 servings


2 tablespoons orange zest

1/3 cup sugar

4 oranges

2 cups low-fat milk

¼ cup heavy cream

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


The drained orange sections are spooned into the bottom
of the ramekins (or bowl).

Mix together orange zest and sugar. Set aside.

Over a large bowl, peel oranges with a sharp knife, cutting away the white pith and letting any juice collect in the bowl. Section the oranges supreme-style, slicing along the membranes; remove any seeds. Put the orange sections in the bowl and squeeze any remaining juice from the membranes over the sections. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together milk and cream. Scald the milk (heating until little bubbles form around the edges), stirring often so it doesn’t stick.

Meanwhile, in the top of a double boiler, beat the egg yolks. Stir in the hot scalded milk.

Add cornstarch to the zest-sugar mixture; stir into custard. Stir in vanilla extract.

In the double boiler over medium heat, cook the custard until thickened, stirring often (it takes about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

The "buried treasure" orange segments can be seen in a glass bowl.

Drain the orange sections (reserve the juice for other use). Place spoonfuls of orange segments at the bottom of a glass dish or into individual ramekins.

Spoon custard over the orange segments. Chill.

Serve plain or with whipped cream.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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