Last week I came home from the grocery store and announced to Mike, with great joy, that it is blood orange season. I even did a little “it’s blood orange season” dance in our kitchen. Few citrus fruits are as beautiful to me as the blood orange, and I absolutely love to bake with them.
This year’s Christmas dessert was a blood orange tart, a wonderful concoction of shortbread crust and blood orange filling. I’m not sure why they have a sort of top crust on top of them, but I suspect it has something to do with the sugars in the filling mixture rising to the top during baking. Regardless, they are absolutely delicious.
For the crust
- 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash salt
- 1 3/4 cups flour
For the filling
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 3 blood oranges)
- Zest of 1 1/2 blood oranges
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add flour and mix to combine completely, then press crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Allow the crust to rise slightly above the edge of the pan because it will shrink slightly during baking. Chill for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the crust with foil or parchment and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is light golden brown at the edges. Remove the weights and allow to bake for another 2-3 minutes to slightly brown the inside crust. Remove from oven and trim the crust edges to neaten the tart’s appearance.
While crust is baking, make filling; whisk sugar, blood orange juice, blood orange zest, eggs, flour, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Pour filling into a large glass measuring cup; keep cool while crust finishes baking.
Once you’ve trimmed your crust edges, place the tart pan on a baking sheet and place it back into the oven, then slowly pour the filling into the crust. Carefully place a crust guard around the edge to prevent over-browning. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until center is set; my center was set at about 25 minutes.
Remove tart from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack to room temperature; remove edge from tart pan and store tart, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 12 servings.