Monday, March 29, 2010

Valencian Orange Tart

Although I like a good dessert, it's not something I make that often. In part, its because I prefer to consume my calories in the form of alcohol or savory goods. I don't often refuse a dessert if it is offered, but won't go to the trouble of making one unless it's a special occasion. Even then, my wife and I have differing views on what constitutes a good dessert. Ching likes the syrupy, sweet, gelatinous desserts that are popular in Southeast Asia. I like buttery, rich baked goods.

We belong to a book club of other teachers that meets about once a month to eat, drink, and talk a little about the book we've read. We rotate hosting duties and each person contributes a dish to the potluck, but I've been designated the dessert maker. So, once a month or so, I make a dessert. I try to bring something that everyone will like, but it ain't easy. Desserts with fruit are usually popular, so I thought I'd try this tart. The recipe is from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen.

Since orange and chocolate go so well together, I decided to make a chocolate crust. I got that recipe from Baking With Julia. Both the filling and crust are fairly easy to pull together, but the filling does take some time. The crust paired perfectly with the filling, but the filling was a little sweet for my taste. Ching, however, who usually doesn't care for pies or tarts, liked this one. It's a tart I could see serving with an afternoon tea.

Valencian Orange Tart
Chocolate Crust
from Baking with Julia

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tesp salt
1 stick (four ounces) cold, unstalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
1 TBS +/- ice water

Using a food processor, blend dry ingredients. Add butter and pulse until you have small pebbles of butter/flour. Stir together the egg yolk with water and add to the flour mixture with the machine running. Pulse in short bursts until mixture is crumbly. Pour onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gather dough together. Chill at least 30 minutes.

To bake, roll chilled dough out and press into an 11 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Chill the crust in the tart pan for at least 30 minutes. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork at regular intervals. Bake in the center of a preheated 350º oven for about 12 minutes, rotating the tart halfway through the baking time. Remove and allow to cool before filling.

Orange Filling

4 to 5 medium thin-skinned oranges, scrubbed well
2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar, plus more for caramelizing the tart
1 TBS grated orange zest
2 tsp orange flower water (optional, available in Middle Eastern markets)
1 cup orange marmalade

Mix the orange juice, sugar, orange zest and orange flower water (if using) in a wide pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

Using a sharp knife, slice the oranges about 1/8 inch thick, discarding the tops and bottoms of each orange. Add the orange slices to the juice and simmer, partially covered, over low for about 15 minutes. The slices should be submerged in the liquid, if not add a little water. Allow the oranges to cool in the liquid, then drain and pat the slices dry with paper towels. Cut the dried slices in half.

To assemble and bake the tart, spread the marmalade across the bottom of the cooled crust. Working from the outside in, lay the halved orange slices in concentric circles, overlapping slightly. Bake on the center rack of a preheated 375º oven for 30 minutes until the oranges are very soft and lightly browned.

Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of the baked tart and caramelize with a blowtorch. Von Bremzen says you could also do this under a preheated broiler, but I think that's much more difficult to control, at least I wouldn't trust my broiler.

Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving.


  1. Ooh. Sooo gorgeous. I love how it looks like a flower.

  2. Oh, I've just emailed you our entry to Weekend Wokking Garlic. =)

  3. Thanks everyone for the kind remarks. It was the look of the tart that first attracted me to the recipe.

  4. I tried that tart when I went to Spain, it is really great! I just started an online cooking show, please check it out!

  5. Outstanding photo and presentation. Great dessert for summer can't wait to try and see what I come up with.

  6. I have just placed the constructed tart in the oven, can't wait to see & taste the results! I don't have a blow torch so will stick it in my grill (in Australa the grill is the top drawer in an oven, outdoor cooking is the BBQ)


If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please e-mail me. Otherwise, please check back on the post where you commented for any updates.