[Note: The tart got some fresh photos in 2020, hallelujah.]
Have you ever lost a recipe? A couple years ago, a reader emailed me, sending me a link to a delicious-looking blood orange tart that she thought I might enjoy. The photo that accompanied the recipe was startling — fiery, purple and magenta coins of oranges with burnished edges laid over a rustic tart base and if ever a photo could reel me in, that one was it.
Unfortunately, nearly as instantly as I fell for the tart, I lost it. And I know what you’re thinking: how do you lose a tart you’ve never made, never eaten and that is fully available on the internet? But somehow I managed to, and spent the next two years Googling it to no end, stumbling onto hundreds of blood orange tart recipes and never finding That One again. When I saw that blood oranges were once again in season this year, I vowed that this time, I would not leave my computer until I found it and it worked! Do you know where I found it? A totally random and very obscure Web site called Food & Wine.
Happily reunited, I vowed to never part with this recipe again and to seal our alliance in the most public of arenas (hm, can you someone has been watching a lot of Rome lately? Thiiiiiiiirteenth!) … I made it for dessert for our inaugural dinner party last Tuesday and it was gone in about sixty seconds. (Likely because I’d somehow thought it would be enough dessert for 12 people. Details.) Oh, and it’s so easy to make, you’ll really kick yourself if you part with it for very long.
Flaky Blood Orange Tart
Adapted from Zoe Nathan, via Food and Wine
This basic, rustic crostata approach — thinly sliced fruit, some sugar, some butter and a flaky dough — is something you can use with any fruit, any time you want a quick and pretty dessert. (We’ve used this previously with the Simplest Apple Tart.) But really, it’s the perfect way to use blood oranges; nothing will better show off their pretty hues.
A new note: The original recipe calls for up to 10 blood oranges, but I’ve never needed more than 8, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the 1/2 cup cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
7 to 8 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each)
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce, for serving
Make pastry: In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
Prepare filling: Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.
Assemble: Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Bake: Heat your oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely. Serve with the Deep Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce.