Saturday, December 01, 2012

Shaker Orange Tarts


Though it's not officially winter yet, there are sure signs that it's here. The darkness sets in by the late afternoon, I've pulled my mittens out from the bottom of my sock drawer, and the skating rinks have opened up in the city (!). Another sign of the impending season is citrus! One of my co-workers is selling boxes of Florida oranges and grapefruits as a fundraiser for a local school, and I've seen oranges on-the-"vine" with leaves still attached for sale at the grocery store.

I tried out a Shaker Clementine Pie for Christmas last year, but it needed some work--it wasn't as juicy and deliciously tart as the Shaker Lemon Pie I'd made previously (the recipe is also included in our Pie Almanac!). This summer I made little Shaker Lemon Tarts for the Nothing-in-the-House Baking Co. debut at the DC Meet Market, and liked the open-face one-crust style that shows off the brilliant citrus color. This time I combined the two, for Shaker Orange (with a bit of lemon) Tarts.

The Shakers, a religious sect known for their frugality, simplicity, and quality craftsmanship are credited with the creation of what we now call Shaker Lemon Pie. In the early 1800s, lemons were quite expensive, so out of thrift, they developed this recipe that uses the whole lemon--rind, pith, and juice (okay, but no the seeds)-- to create a delicious tart-sweet, marmalade like pie filling.

The orange version is a little less tart, a little more marmalade-like, and very pretty. Make sure you plan ahead because the citrus rinds need to macerate overnight. And be careful while cutting them!



Shaker Orange Tarts
Crust adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Filling adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 6, 4-inch tarts or 1, 9-inch tart

Ingredients
For the crust:  
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. salt  
9 Tblsp. unsalted butter, cold & cubed  
2 large egg yolks (I usually only use one, but for some reason I needed an extra this time)

For the filling:
2 thin-skinned oranges, washed
1 lemon (Meyer or regular), washed
2 c. sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (optional)
4 large eggs

Directions
1. Wash and dry the oranges and lemon. Using a sharp chef's knife or a mandoline, slice the fruit as paper thin as you can; removing seeds. Transfer slices and juices to a large non-reactive bowl and gently stir in the sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight and up to 24 hours.

2. For the crust, combine flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse to incorporate until the mixture resembles cornmeal and peas. Add the egg yolks and pulse until the dough begins to form together. 

3. Using a pastry cutter or knife, Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out the dough and pat it into your greased and floured tart pans. Freeze the tart shells for about 30 minutes while you assemble the filling. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
 
4. Remove the filling from the fridge and add the eggs to the mixture, whisking until well incorporated. Drain the filling through a sieve into a medium bowl, keeping both citrus slices and liquid. Divid the liquid evenly into the tart shells and top with citrus slices, arranging decoratively.


5. Place tarts on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes more until crust is golden and filling is set. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove tarts from their pans. Let cool completely and serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish!

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