Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blood Orange Tart

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, nursing school is busier than I ever anticipated. Luckily, I have 2-3 previously made but never posted recipes, so you can expect a few more things throughout the weekend!

I'm a big fan of fruit-based desserts, especially when they're accompanied by a flaky crust. Unfortunately, there isn't much in season when it's January and you live in Iowa. The grocery store had blood oranges on sale last week, so I decided to buy a bunch and find delicious things to do with them. I was somewhat surprised at how few people around me knew about blood oranges (my afternoon snack baffled an entire row of BSN students, which was a little more attention than I was hoping for). In light of this lesser-known fruit, here's a brief background on them: they're a mutation of sweet oranges, slightly smaller and have flesh tinted red by anthocyanin, which is a pigment found in many flowers and fruits, though uncommon in citrus fruits. Alright, now that you know the why blood oranges are red - which I'm sure was at the top of everyone's must know lists - it's time to share how to make them into a delicious tart.

Truth be told, I picked this particular recipe because I really, really wanted to use the *marble* rolling pin my sister gave me for Christmas. This is not a rolling pin to mess around with- some people keep bats in their apartment in case of intruders, I'm fairly certain my rolling pin will do the job!

After Googling "blood orange recipes" I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and, as with everything else I've tried from her website, it's delicious. While this came out deliciously and was a big hit at my friend's "Save the Date" making party I took it to (once people realized it was not a small pepperoni pizza) there is a lot of set time involved -- 30 minutes for the dough before rolling it out and then 4-12 hours for the entire tart. It's absolutely worth the time but keep in mind that you can't whip this up after work for dessert that same night (not that I tried or anything!)

Blood Orange Tart
1 cup 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 plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
8 to 10 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each) *I only needed 6*
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

1. 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.
*I don't have a food processor, so I did this the old fashioned way with spoons or my *clean* hands in a big mixing bowl.

2. 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.

3. 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. *(depending on how much extra juice you have, it makes a pretty delicious cocktail mixer)

4. 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.

5. 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.

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