Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Piccante Dolce's Blood Orange Tart

Hello all you Domestic Divas! I'm so excited to be here sharing some tasty food with you from up in the Great White North. For my first (of hopefully many) appearances here I decided to contribute a dessert, first because the fabulous Diva hasn't posted many so I thought it would be a nice change of pace, but also because it was one of my first times using whole wheat flour in a tart shell and agave in place of sugar and it turned out really well.

For those of you that may stop reading right now because you don't consider yourself a baker, don't! Until about a year ago I was completely and totally anti-baking. With the exception of one from scratch brownie recipe that has worked for me since I was a kid, I was a strictly Betty Crocker or Toll House girl for anything I baked at home. I mean who doesn't love the ease of the Break N Bake Toll House Cookies? That being said I think everyone can bake and to truly commune with your inner Domestic Diva by having one or two stellar desserts in your repertoire! This one is pretty fab and while time consuming, not that difficult if you have a food processor or kitchen aid mixer. I have a food processor and it is what has helped me make a stellar tart shell, and that's coming from someone who thought she'd never be able to make a crust from scratch.

Now make no mistake, I may have worked in the whole wheat flour and cut down on the sugar by using agave but this is a serious treat. There is a whole ton of butter in it, so just remember everything in moderation and an occasional treat is always allowed my book!

Blood Orange Tart
adapted from

For crust:
3 stick + 1 Tbsp or 350g butter - chilled
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 egg
3 1/2 cups or 500g whole wheat flour
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
¼ tsp nutmeg

For pastry cream:
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons grappa or cointreau or other alcohol, or to taste

4 blood oranges - these have been available at my local grocery store over the last month
2-4 small navel oranges
1/3 cup orange marmalade

Make crust:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. In a mixer, beat butter and agave with the paddle attachment. Add the egg and beat well. Add flour, spices and vanilla. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hr. Roll out your dough
2. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough into a 15-inch round (1/8 inch thick) and fit it into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim. Trim dough flush with rim and lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Line shell with foil, making sure the crust is completely covered and fill with rice or beans. Bake shell in middle of oven 10-15 minutes. Remove rice or beans and foil and bake shell until golden, about 8 minutes more. Cool shell in tart pan on a rack. Shell may be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Make pastry cream:
1. In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan bring milk just to a simmer over moderate heat. In a metal bowl whisk together yolks, agave, flour, and zest and Temper in hot milk by whisking in a very little at a time to bring the yolk mixture up to temperature. Once it is up to temperature stream in the rest of the milk, whisking constantly.
2. Transfer mixture to pan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking constantly. Simmer pastry cream, whisking constantly, 1 minute and transfer to a bowl.
3. Whisk in alcohol and cool, stirring occasionally. Cover pastry cream by pressing plastic wrap to the surface. Chill pastry cream, until cold, at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days.

Prepare oranges:
1. With a sharp knife cut a slice from top and bottom of each orange to expose flesh and arrange, a cut side down, on a cutting board. Cutting from top to bottom, remove peel and pith (the white part that's between the skin & flesh).
2. Cut oranges crosswise into thin slices and drain slices in one layer on several thicknesses of paper towel 15 minutes.

Assemble tart:
1. In a small saucepan bring marmalade to a simmer, stirring, and force through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids. Discard solids.
2. Spread pastry cream evenly in tart shell. Arrange orange slices decoratively over pastry cream, overlapping them slightly to cover cream, and brush with marmalade. Tart may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring tart to room temperature before serving.

Since the Diva always shares a wine paring with her dishes. I though I'd share my wine suggestion for this dessert. My suggestion is a Saracco Moscato d'Asti. Paolo Saracco has been termed "The Maestro of Moscatos" and I have to agree. Robert Parker gave the 2007 90 points. I've had many different years and they are all quite good. If you are going to take the time to make this fancy dessert, do yourself a favor and enjoy it with a nice glass of Moscato.



  1. Jen H., Ms. Piccante Dolce, out did herself!! I can't wait to try making this myself!


  2. My friend Natashya tried to post the following comment but kept getting frozen out :(

    This looks divine! I love blood oranges.
    Does the whole wheat crust mean I can eat the leftovers for breakfast? ;-)