Oranges just do not get the credit that they deserve. We all know that they’re the Vitamin C champions and I’m sure many of us grew up drinking a glass of orange juice the moment that we felt the onset of a cold. Not only do they pack a lot of great vitamins and nutrients but their wonderfully clean citrus scent can freshen a room in a heartbeat and just so happens to be one of my favorite smells! This delicious citrus fruit is great paired with so many flavors and can be both sweet and savory. I mean, clearly this fruit deserve more credit that it typically receives, right?
One of our neighbors has this beautiful orange tree that has an abundance of Oranges on it and they just sit there. Untouched. As the season progresses they sadly fall to their demise and that is the extent of their existence. Sad, isn’t it? Each season I have watched this happen and it makes me so sad that such great fresh fruit goes to waste. This season I just wouldn’t have it! My loyal sidekick and I did the unthinkable- complete with our hoodies, flashlights, and a basket – and snuck out to her tree and plucked about 2 dozen oranges off. I know, this seems like a lot of oranges but do you see that tree? She had plenty to spare!
We were so excited to start snacking on our loot – I mean oranges – so we sliced one up the moment we walked in our kitchen. Maybe it was karma, I don’t know, but these weren’t the typical sweet oranges or any variety that I had ever had before; they were very tart and almost slightly bitter. Needless to say, they weren’t going to be a good snack or a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed orange juice unfortunately. I still refused to give up on them, though. I had recently seen a recipe for a grapefruit curd tart so it gave me the idea of using them to make a curd, which is one of my favorite things.
I quickly got to slicing and juicing and yes, I am old school and juiced each orange by hand through a strainer. Talk about a work-out! I ended up juicing around 12 oranges to yield
1 1/2 cups of juice. Depending on the variety of orange that you select, this can vary for the orange to juice ratio but you’ll want about 3/4 cups orange juice to make the tart.
Once you have the fresh juice you can begin making the curd and the tart shell. Both recipes are very traditional recipes with a couple of slight tweaks to them to make the flavor profiles work well with each-other.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- zest of one lemon
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice (any orange variety will work)
- Zest of (3) oranges
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
Toasted Italian Meringue & Garnish:
- 2 egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- Zest of (1) orange
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the flour, powdered sugar, and salt to a small bowl and whisk together. Melt the butter in a separate bowl and add the vanilla & almond extracts as well as the lemon zest to the butter and stir until it is well combined. Pour this mixture into the flour/sugar combo and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Using a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom, press the dough evenly along the bottom and sides – I like to poke a few fork holes in the bottom of my tart. Bake the tart for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on the edges.
For the Curd:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and move your rack to the middle of the oven.
- In a bowl, combine the orange juice, zest of 3 oranges, sugar, eggs and salt and whisk. Place in saucepan and bring to a medium heat. Cook, whisking, constantly until the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter, roughly 2 tablespoons at a time until it’s incorporated and has a smooth consistency.
- Once the tart shell has cooled, pour the orange curd into the tart shell. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the orange curd has set. Remove from oven and place the tart on a rack (still in the pan). Once cool place chill in the refrigerator before garnishing with the meringue.
For the Meringue & Garnish:
- Sprinkle the zest of (1) orange onto the tart.
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. When the sugar mixture registers about 220°F turn on the mixer and begin beating the egg whites on medium speed.
- When the sugar mixture registers 240°F remove from heat and carefully pour into the mixer over the egg whites. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with your tip preference and pipe onto chilled tart in any pattern you’d like!
- Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the meringue until the majority of the peaks and sides are golden brown.
- Slice and serve immediately.
A great tip for this recipe is to make a little extra curd and keep stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. This curd is delicious on a toasted English muffin or fresh lavender scone!
Also, don’t be scared – try all different types of citrus fruit in lieu of orange and see what you think!