Why Blood Orange Tarts?
I am not a fan of oranges. Ever since I can remember I have never enjoyed them as much as everyone else. To me oranges (and I know this will sound harsh) are mundane.
From orange juice, to quartered oranges in kids lunch boxes, and even the classic duck a la orange, there is nothing about this fruit that excites me.
I understand that I am lucky and live in a time where I am spoilt for choice. I also realise that such a fruit as the orange, in earlier times would have paved the way for many, but for me they remain somewhat boring.
Give me blood oranges, however, and I feel like I am in paradise. I think the excitement is that firstly they are seasonal. Secondly, while they might look like a mere orange with a reddish blush, inside they are much more.
Inside their flesh is flecked with bright orange, red and a deep crimson; making them appear like they are bleeding.
Looks however are not everything. The taste and aroma of a blood orange is also wonderful. They have a tangy rich orange flavour with sweet subtleties that make you think of raspberries and strawberries.
A twist on the classic lemon tart is my tribute to a favourite fruit, the blood orange.
Although I may not speak highly of the typical orange, please don’t take my words to heart. I have made this same tart with naval oranges and know that it also beautiful. Simply reduce the amount of juice from oranges from 3 to 2
250g (1 2/3 cups) plain flour, sifted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
115g cold butter, chopped
Blood Orange Filling
1 egg yolk
115g butter, chopped
Juice of 3 blood oranges
Juice of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges
For the shortcrust pastry; put the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into the bowl of a food processor and add the butter. Pulse the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix with a little cold water to form a dough. Roll out and rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For the filling, beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl and add the butter, juices and zest, stirring well. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until thickened. This should take up to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In the meantime preheat oven to 180°C fan forced. Roll out pastry and line 6x12cm tart shells with pastry (or 1x22cm tart shell), and prick the bottom with a fork. Return to the refrigerator for 5 minutes before baking for 10 minutes or until the pasty appears dry on the surface.
Once tart shells are cool fill the tart cases evenly with the cooled citrus curd and bake for 10 minutes or until they are just set.
Leave to cool before serving.
Serves 6 generously.