Richmond enjoyed a brief spring tease this past weekend, and it has me craving open windows and bright mornings in the back yard. While Spring proper is just out of my grasp, I can recreate the bright, warm feeling via food…because that’s what I do. And the best way I’ve found to invoke warmth on a cold February day is with citrus! This tart is gorgeous and fairly easy to prepare – All it really takes is patience, so read the recipe thoroughly, carve out some time in your day, and start tarting!
Lemon Curd Tart with Candied Oranges
(adapted from Ina Garten)
12 T unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 oranges, sliced very thin on a mandoline
3 c. sugar
3 c. water (plus more for blanching)
4 lemons, at room temperature
Zest from 1 orange
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
Sift flour and salt together, and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until they are just combined. Add the vanilla and sifted flour. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Press the dough into a 10-inch-round or 9-inch-square false-bottom tart pan, making sure that the finished edge is flat. Chill until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray 1 side of a sheet of aluminum foil to fit inside the chilled tart and place it, sprayed side down, on the tart shell. Fill with baking beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the tart all over with the tines of a fork, and bake again for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You want to use a large pot so that your orange slices aren’t crowded in the pot to ensure that the pieces stay in tact. Carefully add orange slices, and blanch for approximately 3 minutes. Drain orange slices, and repeat the process one more time.
Bring 3 c. sugar and 3 c. water to a boil, and add blanched orange slices. Simmer for 25 minutes, and remove to cool/dry on a cooling rack, piece of wax paper, or a silpat.
Zest the lemons, and combine with the orange zest. Squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice, and set the juice aside. Put the zest and vanilla bean in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the sugar and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until the zest, vanilla, and sugar and thoroughly combined. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Place the metal mixing bowl on top of a double-boiler (about two inches of water simmering in a sauce pan.) Whisk constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Allow the mixture to thicken and remove from the heat. Scrape mixture down with a rubber spatula, and stir again to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Fill the tart shell with warm lemon curd. The curd will set at room temperature. Once it is set, decorate with candied orange slices.
*Another way to adapt this recipe (that I think would be quite precious, indeed) would be to do smaller tartlets with candied kumquats. Simply repeat the process but sub kumquats for oranges. Adorbs!