“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Happy March! As I am easing into the spring season, I find myself enjoying the citrus bounty more than ever as my fruit basket is always filled with sweet oranges. It was like these bright coloured and refreshing fruits are reminding me that summer is soon approaching. Like my previous baking and preserving recipes, I love working with seasonal fruits at the peak of their season, when they have the best flavours. Ever since I started working at a French bakery, I think I’ve became a tart fan, maybe loving them even more than cakes (I still love you, cakes.). I think it is the contrast of textures that I enjoy most, the cookie-like shell, creamy or nutty filling, or with some kind of fresh fruits.
I am starting March with this Blood Orange and Kumquat Hazelnut Tarts. I wanted to play with blood oranges mainly because of the striking red colour of its flesh, its flavour is like a cross between an orange and clemetine. I also wanted to pair it with another kind of citrus, kumquat was the perfect choice with its sweet and bright flavour. The citrus flavour cuts through the heavy nuttiness of the hazelnuts yet not overpowering it, I almost prefer the kumquat over the blood orange. I might even use all kumquats next time. If you can’t find blood oranges, just substitute with navel oranges.
- 90g Sugar
- 180g Butter - cold
- 1 Egg yolk
- 270g Cake and pastry flour, sieved
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 75g Hazelnut flour/meal, lightly toasted
- 7g All purpose flour
- 75g Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 75g Icing Sugar
- 45g Eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 2 Blood oranges or navel oranges, peel removed and thinly sliced
- 3-4 Kumquats, thinly sliced
- Apricot jam for glaze
- Place cold butter in a mixing bowl with the sugar, with a paddle attachment on low speed, mix until the butter becomes smooth.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.
- Add in sieved flour, mix on low speed just enough so the dough is no longer dry, make sure all ingredients has been evenly distributed.
- Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight for a more even baking colour.
- Before rolling, let dough sit out for about 10-15 minutes to soften. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 3-4mm thick, turning the dough after each roll to prevent sticking, flour as needed.
- Measure the size of your tart pan/ring, cut out the shapes you need.
- If the dough is too warm, place it back in the fridge to chill, otherwise you can start lining the pan/ring. When lining, be sure to get into the edges on the bottom, flush the dough right up to the top of the pan, trim off excess.
- Chill lined pan/ring. Pierce the bottoms of the tart with a fork before baking, or blind bake them (yields nicer looking shells - optional). Bake at 325 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Blind baking: Line chilled tart pan/rings with parchment, fill with beans or rice, up to the top. Bake until edges start to brown, take out and remove paper, beans and take out from the pans/rings, return to oven to bake to golden brown.
- Remove shells from pans/ring, let cool until ready to use.
- In a bowl, mix butter and icing sugar with a spatula until incorporated. Add in egg and emulsify.
- Mix in hazelnut flour, flour, salt and mix until it becomes a paste. Chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 325F/160C.
- Pipe or fill baked tart shells with hazelnut filling until the filling is just shy of reaching the top of the shell.
- Arrange sliced blood orange and kumquats on top of the filling.
- Bake tarts for 10-15 minutes until the filling puffs up and turns a little golden.
- Let cool, brush warmed and strained apricot jam to glaze the tops to give them a glossy finish.
Nice and elegant, yet not difficult to make, this makes a great entertaining dessert. If you don’t have individual tart rings or moulds, you can make a large one, it will even have a larger surface to play with the arrangement of the fruit. Another idea to consider is using ground pistachio nuts in place of the hazelnuts, the colour and flavour with contrast nicely with the oranges.