I am a sucker for a good pie crust. A little flour, a little sugar an a fair share of butter….yes, please! A couple of summers ago I decided I was going to learn how to bake a pie. It was a great summer. I tried out a couple of different crust recipes – different fillings and I got to eat a lot of pie. Anytime a pie came out less than perfect I blamed it on the altitude – it was definitely not because I had never baked a pie before. No, definitely not.
Last weekend I made the savory version. And this past weekend I had a hankering for a sweet version. So I went searching on my favorite blogs to see what I could find. I wanted to do something that I hadn’t done before. I was looking all over and nothing really caught my eye. And then – I found it. I always get swept away with Smitten Kitchen’s pictures, but this was like nothing I had seen before. I had to try it.
Luckily I was able to find blood oranges. My whole plan would have been shattered if I hadn’t found them. Luckily I found them – and I got a couple extra so I could eat fresh ones throughout the week. Now the preparation of the oranges took a bit of practice.
But once I got the hang of it, it was fairly simple.
Deb’s recipe called to use a food processor for the crust. I didn’t. In my summer of pie making, I found that I got a better result from using a pastry cutter. It really doesn’t take that much time and you have more control over the outcome – and less dishes to wash is always a good thing! The pie crust is a little different from what I normally use – but the results were just as good – if not better than my normal dough. I don’t know if it was the mutliple chilling/freezing of the dough – but it almost turned pastry-like. It was delicious.
Citrus in a pie?!? you may ask. I was equally skeptical. It is definitely not your typical pie. But its light and refreshing. I think it is better suited for a brunch rather than desert. Although the caramel sauce (amazing caramel sauce!) did push it into the desert realm. And the left overs was perfect for breakfast this morning!
Blood Orange Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
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
6 to 8 blood oranges
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
Caramel Sauce (recipe below)
1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour with 2 tablespoons of sugar, the baking powder and salt. Mix. Add the cold butter and cut together with a pastry cutter. The pieces should be about the size of peas. Springle the dough with ice water and mix until moistened crumbs form. This was easiest to do with my fingers. Once your dough is slightly coming together, turn out onto a work surface. Knead once or twice to bring the dough together. Patt the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes.
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.
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. Serve with the Deep Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce (below).
Makes about 1 1/3 cups of dessert sauce
1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.
You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 30 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.