Blood Orange Meringue Tarts


 
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue
Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue

Hi. Remember me? I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I have had a hard time getting motivated to do anything since the start of the new year. That baking hiatus I said I took? Still kinda on it. We've been sticking to a little routine, but I haven't felt any desire whatsoever to switch the oven on. So I didn't. And it felt good! I've been slowly working my way through a bunch of savory dinner ideas i've had lurking, and working on testing a couple of things (batch 285374 of macarons - anyone know how to deal with wonky feet!?!), but aside from that it's been super quiet around here.

I do however find myself compulsively buying blood oranges. There's currently about 30 in the fruit bowl, and I had to stop myself from buying more this morning at the supermarket. And you can't add them to dinner, so I had to make something with them! 

I love the taste of blood orange, and so wanted to keep it simple. The components for these tarts can be prepared well ahead of time, and assembled just as you a ready to serve. I went with the sweet pastry recipe from Tartine's book, then used it to make little baby tart shells (lining them is kinda fiddly, someone come do it for me?). I used pastry rings (I use these, in the 3 3/8" inch size, but these would work too) because I had seen it done on all the fancy shows. It turned out to be a little more tricky than it looked, but the recipe made loads of dough so I was able to practice a few times before I shot these. If you have tart tins with removable bottoms, they will work well too! 

I then filled the baked shells with cold lemon curd, and topped with a few blobs of swiss meringue. Swiss meringue gets cooked to a safe temp at the water bath phase, so you don't have to worry about raw egg whites. If I wasn't shooting them I probably would have added a couple more blobs of meringue so the whole thing was covered, and you got a little meringue in every bite. You could totally toast it too! 

A few wee tips:

  • The Sweet Tart dough (Pate Sablee) can be a little fiddly to roll out. I found that working it slightly in my hands to warm it before rolling worked best. 
  • I blind baked these using heavy duty plastic wrap and rice. I prefer to use rice as I find it fills the gaps much better than beans do.
  • You can do the tart shells in batches! They keep in an airtight container until you are ready to go.
  • If you would like the tops of the shell to be nice and smooth, you can give them a sneaky file with a microplane.
  • If you can, make the tart dough and the curd the evening before. They both benefit from some time to rest and chill well. Make the meringue just as you are ready to assemble, and pipe on. I used an Ateco 866 tip for these - my fave! 
  • Store leftover components separately, and assemble when ready to serve.
  • If you wanted to make these lemon, you could sub for lemon juice in the curd. 
 

 

Blood Orange Meringue Tarts

- Makes 8-10 mini tarts -

Sweet Tart Dough Recipe from Tartine

Sweet Tart Dough 
255g (9oz) unsalted butter, at room temp
200g (1 cup) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 Large eggs, at room temp
500g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

Blood Orange Curd
1 cup (240ml) blood orange juice
2/3 cup (120g) sugar
8 Tbsp (113g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
8 egg yolks

Swiss Meringue
125g egg whites
190g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

SWEET TART DOUGH

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, scraping down the bowl well between each addition. Add the flour all in one go, and mix on low until incorporated. 

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly to bring together. Shape the dough into two fat sausages, and wrap tightly in plastic. Rest at least a few hours, but ideally overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare your tart tins or rings (this can be done in a few batches if you don't have enough rings or tins) 

Cut a slice off the sausage of dough. Work lightly with your hands to warm up slightly. Roll out to a circle about 1/8 thick. Line the tart ring, ensuring the dough makes it right into the corners and is straight up the sides. Patch any tears if needed. Trim off any excess - you can keep the scraps to reuse later. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and Repeat with the remaining rings. 

Place the baking sheet with the lined rings in the freezer for 15 minutes, until firm. 

Remove from the freezer, and dock each shell a few times with the tines of a fork. Place a piece of heavy duty plastic wrap in each shell, and fill to the brim with rice, twisting the excess plastic wrap to make a little package. If you do not have heavy duty plastic wrap, parchment paper will work fine too.

Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the rice and plastic wrap, and bake for a further 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tins or rings. Repeat the process if needed to bake additional shells. 

File down the edges with a microplane if they are a little rough. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. 

BLOOD ORANGE CURD

Place a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the bowl does not touch the water. 

Place all of the ingredients into the bowl. Cook, whisking constantly, until the curd coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a clear line through it with your finger. Strain into a container, and place in the fridge to cool completely. 

SWISS MERINGUE

Measure the egg whites, granulated sugar and vanilla bean paste into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip (I used an ateco #866)

ASSEMBLY

Mix the cooled lemon curd with a whisk or immersion blender to ensure that there are no lumps. Fill each tart shell with curd, and smooth with an offset spatula. Pipe blobs of swiss meringue onto each tart. Torch if desired. 

Serve immediately. 

Blood orange meringue tart - sweet pastry filled with a blood orange curd and topped with a swiss meringue

Blackberry and Lavender Tart


 

Its SO HOT. Like, stay inside all day with the air conditioning on hot. I'm not great in either super hot or super cold weather, and on crazy hot days I get a serious case of the angries. The only thing that makes really hot days bearable is trips to the Greenmarket in Union Square. Its probably one of my favourite places in the whole of NYC. I love the seasonality of it. I love every part about it. 

One of these trips, where we bought some amazing blackberries, coincided with the arrival of two new cook books, Tartine, and Bouchon Bakery. I don't think I will ever get over the novelty of Amazon Prime. Both are amazing. I would love to expand my knowledge on pastry, and these books look like they are going to be a great starting point. That and I happen to have a good friend who is an amazing pastry chef, and doesn't mind when I bomb her with a million questions regarding flavour combinations, advice on blind baking, etc etc. 

This tart is a combination of two recipes from the books. The crust is a Pate Sucrée from Bouchon, and the filling is a play on the Blackberry Tart recipe from Tartine. I decided to go with a lavender pastry cream for the filling. The floral taste of the cream compliments the sweetness of the blackberries, and the almond meal in the crust ties it all nicely together. The pastry cream has a little whipped cream folded through it to give it a slightly more light and fluffy texture than regular pastry cream. 

If you can, I seriously recommend making some of the components the day before you plan to eat this. The pastry dough benefits from resting overnight, and the pastry cream needs to be cold when you work with it, so if you can, prepare both the dough and the cream the day before. Then the day of, bake off your tart shell, finish off the pastry cream, and assemble the tart. 

I made mine in a 13.75" x 4.5" rectangular tart tin with a removable bottom. If you wanted to you could make it as an 8 inch round tart instead - the quantities of each component needed are similar, although you may need more blackberries. Ideally I would have had slightly more berries to put on the top, but somehow some of them 'magically' disappeared from the fridge. 

This is best eaten the day that it is made, when the cream is fresh. But its also amazing the next day. And the one after too. Just saying. 

One more note: The measurements in the crust recipe are in grams, as dividing the cup measurements made the whole thing very confusing to follow. The majority of pastry recipes are in grams, which I am a huge fan of, as it makes everything so much more accurate, along with ensuring that inaccuracies don't come about by way of conversion mistakes. 

 

 

Blackberry Lavender tart
-Makes one 8 inch round tart, or one 13 x 4 inch rectangle tart-

Adapted from "Bouchon Bakery"/"Tartine"

Pate Sucrée
188g All-purpose flour
23g Powdered sugar (for the dry ingredients)
47g Powdered sugar (for the wet ingredients)
24g Almond meal
113g (one stick, or 4 oz) Unsalted butter, at room temperature. 
1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
28g eggs

Lavender Cream
2 cups (500ml/500g) Whole milk
4 Tbsp (10g) Culinary Lavender
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115g) Sugar
1/4 cup (30g) Cornstarch
2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
4 Tbsp (55g) Unsalted butter
3/4 cup (175ml) Heavy cream, very cold
2 Pints (570g) Blackberries

- PROCESS -

PATE SUCREE

Sift All-purpose flour, 23g Powdered sugar, and almond meal into a medium bowl. Ensure that there are no lumps in the almond meal by sieving well. Whisk until well combined. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium until it is pale. In the book, they suggest beating it until it 'holds a peak and is the consistency of mayonnaise'. Add the 47g of powdered sugar, and mix briefly to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix again on high for one minute, or until fluffy. Add vanilla seeds from the bean, or the vanilla paste, and mix on low until evenly distributed throughout the mixture. 

Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well between each addition. Add the egg and mix for another minute or so until cohesive. Transfer to a work surface. Using the heel of your hand, smear the mixture on the surface. Repeat this process until it is evenly mixed and well combined. Shape the dough into a rectangle, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. 

Roll out chilled dough until it is 1/8th of an inch (3mm) thick. Transfer to tart tin, carefully ensuring it is right into the corners. Trim excess dough from edges of tin with a small knife. Keep these scraps in case you need to do a patch job later. Place pastry lined tart tin in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c.  Line the tart pan with parchment paper, allowing some to overhang the edges. Fill the paper with rice or beans, ensuring that the tin is evenly filled. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are just starting to colour, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack until completely cool.

PASTRY CREAM 

Place milk in a medium saucepan with the salt. Heat until small bubbles appear at the sides of the milk, and it just starts to steam. Add lavender, stir well, cover, and allow to steep for 20-25 minutes. Strain the lavender from the milk, and return the infused milk to the pan. 

Prepare a heat resistant bowl with a sieve placed over it for straining the pastry cream. In another bowl, whisk together the corn starch, sugar, and eggs. 

Heat the infused milk on a medium heat until it is just close to a boil. Whisk frequently to prevent it from catching. Remove from heat, and pour about a quarter of the milk mixture into the egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Add another quarter of the milk, and whisk until well combined. This step tempers the eggs to ensure that they will not scramble when added to the hot milk. 

Add the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Whisk until it reaches the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Watch this stage very carefully, as this process happens very quickly. Pour the mixture through the sieve into the prepared bowl. Let the pastry cream cool for approximately 10 minutes, or until it is 140f/60c. While it is cooling, cut the butter up into tablespoon sized chunks. Add the butter to the pastry cream one chunk at a time, whisking until completely combined. Let it cool for a few minutes more, then place plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream to ensure a skin does not form. Refrigerate until completely cold. 

In a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until medium-stiff form. You want it to have a similar consistency to that of the pastry cream, so that they incorporate nicely when you combine them. Gently fold the cream into the whipped pastry cream. Be careful not to over-mix. 

ASSEMBLY

Scoop the filling into the prepared cooled tart shell, and smooth off with an offset spatula. Arrange blackberries on top of the filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, if desired, dust lightly with icing sugar.