I was a little skeptical about this tart. Initially I was drawn to it by the beautiful jewel colors of the blood oranges. For me, citrus is one redeeming aspect of our bleak, wintery months. But other than grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled, I am totally unaccustomed to eating baked citrus.
My husband was first to try the blood orange tart. I handed him a slice, dripping with the salted caramel sauce. He was very quiet and took his time before saying anything. When I asked him if he liked it, he said at first he tasted the sweetness of the caramel sauce and that was followed by the tartness of the blood oranges. He finished with raves for the "flaky" crust. Yes... he liked it. I quickly followed and was equally pleased -- what a wonderful dessert in the depth of a Minnesota winter!
The recipe calls for 8 to 10 oranges. You can get by with less if you follow the original recipe. Having more orange segments than I actually needed, I increased the amount to fill my tart to 2 cups. If you do that, be absolutely certain to place a rimmed baking sheet below the tart (preferably lined with foil) since the oranges will give off huge amounts of juice. Also, even with generous drizzling of the salted caramel sauce, you will have quite a bit of it left over; a nice predicament since it's delicious in many ways -- on ice cream, pooled around a slice of chocolate cake, or used as a dip for tart apple slices!
Also... plan ahead with this tart since it needs to be frozen (preferably overnight) before baking.
• 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 stick (8 tablespoons), plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, with the stick cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
• 3 tablespoons ice water
• 8 to 10 blood oranges ( you can probably get by with 7)
• 1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
• SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE for serving. Recipe follows.
- In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
- On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
- Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.
- Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely. Serve with the Salted Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 teaspoons gray sea salt, crushed (or flaky Maldon salt, as I used)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream, butter and salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.
• If you still have clumps of caramelized sugar after adding the heavy cream, place over low heat and continue to stir/whisk until clumps dissolve.
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