April 8, 2008

Taken with Tangelos

Mary of Starting from Scratch chose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Actually, she deferred the honors to her friend, Teri, who was celebrating a birthday. What a good friend! Being such generous ladies, they gave us a choice between Dorie's Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart or her Fresh Orange Cream Tart.

I decided to go for the orange version because I've ogled blood oranges in my grocery store for years. I'd never bought any and really never had a reason to until now. So, I gleefully headed to the store, thinking how exciting it would be to finally add blood oranges to the list of ingredients with which I have baked. As luck—or the lack thereof—would have it, my favorite store was all out of blood oranges. According to the produce guy, they recently got a shipment, but the quality was not their standards. I appreciate the effort, but hey, Produce Guy, "Boooo. Hissss."

Unsure of my next move at that point, something near the oranges caught my eye. Deep red-orange orbs, emitting a subtle citrus scent into the air. Minneola tangelos ... okay, this might just work.

And work it did. A cross between a sweet tangerine and a tart grapefruit, the Minneola produces a super juicy nectar. The perfect foundation for a citrus tart.

While I consider this baking adventure an ultimate victory, it didn't come without its challenges. I was never able to get the cream to 180 degrees F while stirring over heat. The directions indicate that the process would take about 10 minutes. After laboriously whisking for more than 30 minutes, my cream never reached more that 150-ish. I later found out from some fellow TWDers that I might've had better luck had I used a metal bowl instead of a glass one. That's lesson #1. Lesson #2 came from Julius at Occasional Baker, who shared a great tip he learned. Over-zealous whisking can prohibit one's cream from reaching the desired temperature. It turns out that stirring with a spatula is the preferred method and allows the cream to heat up more quickly.

I got zero pictures of an individual slice, so I unfortunately can't share a cross-section. This tart plated terribly for me, and looked just plain sloppy. The fault doesn't lie within the tart, though, but in my lack of grace when it comes to slicing baked goods. I've never done this well in the past and my efforts with this tart were no exception.

Would I make it again? Probably. The cream was very smooth and rich, it was almost too rich. Between the crust and the cream, this tart boasts 17 tablespoons of butter. I'm a superfan of all things decadent, but even I have my limits. I'd like to experiment with the recipe and see if I could reduce the amount of butter and still procure a decent cream.

Fresh Tangelo Creme Tart
slightly modified from Dorie Greenspan's original recipe for Fresh Orange Cream Tart

For the custard filling
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 3 tangelos
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
Scant 3/4 cup fresh tangelo juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 3/4 sticks (11 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at cool room temperature

1 9-inch Spiced Tart Dough shell, fully baked and cooled (see below)

orange slices and zest spirals, for decoration

For the crust
1 cup ground hazelnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cloves
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar

Getting ready
Have an instant-read thermometer, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at hand. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.

To make the cream
Put the sugar and tangelo and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water. Off the heat, rub the sugar and zests together between your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs, followed by the tangelo and lemon juice.

Set the bowl over the pan and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180 degrees F. As you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger and then, as it gets closer to 180 degrees F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.

As soon as it reaches 180 degrees F, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender (or food processor); discard the zest.

Soften the gelatin in the cold water, then dissolve it by heating it for 15 seconds in a microwave oven (or do this in a saucepan over extremely low heat). Add the gelatin to the filling and pulse once just to blend, then let filling cool to 140 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Turn the blender to high (or turn on the processor) and, with the machine going, add the butter about 5 pieces at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.

Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (The cream can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months; thaw overnight in the fridge.)

When you are ready to construct the tart, whisk the cream vigorously to loosen it. Spread the cream evenly in the crust. Arrange the orange slices and zest spiral in the center of the tart. Serve now or refrigerate the tart until needed.

To make the crust
Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.

Whisk together the ground nuts, flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and cloves. With a fork, stir the egg yolk and water together in a cup.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg and water and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. If the dough comes together but some dry crumbs remain at the bottom of the bowl, stop the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a rubber spatula or your hands.

With your hands, flatten the dough into a disk, then grab a rolling pin and roll the dough, turning it over frequently, until you have a round that is about 11 inches in diameter.

Carefully turn the dough into the buttered tart pan. Very gently fit the dough into the pan, lightly pressing it over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't be concerned if the dough breaks, as it may—just gently press the tears together with your fingers. Chill the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Remove the plastic wrap and, using a small sharp knife, trim the excess dough flush with the edges of the pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights.

Place the tart pan on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake the crust for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is browned, dry and firm. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.


Donna said...

I love that you used tangelos in your tart. And the crust looks extra special yummy and dark with the nuts and cocoa. I can just imagine how wonderfully fragrant it smelled in your kitchen!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I thought about using tangelos, too. I had some in my fridge. It looks so yummy! Great job.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

The color of your tart is gorgeous! Well done!

Carrie said...

Nice Tart! Good thinking replacing the blood oranges. Glad to hear it worked out for you!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Tangelos are a great idea! Your tart looks lovely, too bad it didn't cut so well. I couldn't cut my tartlettes without the innards spilling out!

Dolores said...

With 6 mineola tangelos in last week's CSA box, that's the direction I took my orange tart too. Yours is gorgeous... I love the delicate orange slices you used to decorate.

CB said...

Tangelo cream sounds fabulous! I definitely wanna try the orange version sometime soon. Lovely tart.
Clara @ I♥food4thought

LyB said...

It sounds lovely! I especially like the dark color of the crust contrasting with the cream's light orange color.

Jhianna said...

Tangelo cream sounds fantastic, and your tart looks lovely!