Our cooler spring has extended timeline of the citrus season. Happily blood oranges are still available in many markets here in Cali, last chance for this lovely little jewel, Blood Orange Tart.
As you have noticed throughout the blog, I am citrus crazy. This dates back to my wild childhood wanderings through the orange groves near my home. Living near a Sunkist plant has produced a vivid memory, of both the sight and smell of citrus, which always wafted through the air. Returning from playing in the groves yielded a dusting of dirt affixed with citrus oils. Blood oranges became known to me later when I began cooking and I do love learning about the origins of the food we eat.
So, just a little history here. Blood Oranges originated in Mediterranean countries, Southern Italy is best known for this variety. These oranges are now also grown in California. The variety is named for the color of the fruit’s flesh, that ranges in color from pink-hued to a brilliant reddish burgundy. The colors are due to the presence of anthocyanins, which are compounds that give many fruits and vegetables their red, blue or purple colors. Selecting blood oranges at the peak of the season ensures the maximum amount of anthocyanins (color) is in the fruit. Winter though early spring produces blood oranges that will be as vividly hued as possible and the darker in color.
The oranges pictured here are late in the season, thus lighter in color, especially compared to those earlier in the season in this Blood Orange, Fennel & Radicchio Salad.
They’re flavor is tart and sweet, loaded with juice. Perfect for salads, juicing, and of course this lovely tart.
The tart begins by preparing a simple fruit curd. This is easy to do. Zest, juice, eggs and sugar are combined with sweet butter to create a sweet-tart filling for the tart. The curd may be made with other citrus, such as lemons and used to top yogurt, scones, or in this wonderful Meyer Lemon Bread Pudding. I like to prepare the filling the day before I bake the tart, removing it from the refrigerator allowing to room temperature before adding the the tart.
SWEET PASTRY CRUST
This classic sweet crust recipe is from my very first cooking teachers at the Inner Gourmet Cooking School. A tried and true recipe, a little jewel. Their classic cooking class technique book is now available via the internet available here. It is a wonderful book for teaching the basics as well as French and Italian cuisine. Well worth checking it out.
BLOOD ORANGE TART
Be sure to chill the tart throughly before slicing. I garnished the tart with some fresh orange blossoms from my orange tree I just planted in the garden in my new home.
I can never can be far from orange trees or this little jewel recipe, Blood Orange Tart.