Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rustic Blood Orange Tart with Cream Cheese Crust

Spring is in full glory here in Chapel Hill, which brings with it a few things...terrible allergies and a desire to eat fruit, among them. My fruit kick has included a lot of blood oranges recently. They're so vibrant and variegated in color, have a tart little kick, and are delicious with sweet or savory accompaniment. I've been eating them a lot in salads with mixed greens, avocado, goat cheese, almonds, and maple syrup vinaigrette.

While browsing recipes on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago, this recipe for a "flaky blood orange tart" caught my eye. I like tart recipes like this that are very simple and really showcase the fruit, without the need for much added spice or sweetener.

My dad was passing through town and requested some pie, the monthly Old Time Jam I coordinate was coming up, and I had a bunch of individually wrapped butter and cream cheese packets leftover from the North Carolina Folklore Society Annual Meeting-- All good indications that it was time to try out this blood orange tart, with some variations. Here's the approximate recipe I used:

Rustic Blood Orange Tart with a Cream Cheese Crust 
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. raw Turbinado sugar

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

5 Tblsp. salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

4 Tblsp. cream cheese

3 Tblsp. ice water

8 to 10 blood oranges (I only needed 6)
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 Tblsp. of water


1. Whisk 1 cup of flour with 2 Tblsp. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the 4 Tblsp. of cold butter in sliced pieces and cream cheese and cut into flour mixture with a knife and fork or pastry cutter. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and combine until pastry can be formed into a disk. Wrap pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

2. On a floured work surface, roll out pastry to an 11-in. round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith with a knife. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise and remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, along section lines. You will need 1 cup of sections.

4. Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 Tblsp. of sugar over the oranges. Thinly slice the remaining 1 Tblsp. 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 Tblsp. of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-in. border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tblsp. 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. Let the tart cool completely. Serve with salted butter caramel sauce, if so desired. Recipe here.

I brought the tart to the Old Time Jam at Nightlight and shared it with friends there. Unfortunately my dad couldn't make the jam, but I did save him a slice and handed it off to him at lunch the next day.

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