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Orange and Brown-Butter Tart

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Serves eight.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 97

For the tart shell
  • 5 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
For the filling
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher or table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 3 large navel or blood oranges, or a combination
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 Tbs. orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
Make the tart shell

In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt a few times to combine. Add the butter and orange zest and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal, six to eight 1-second pulses. A teaspoon at a time, pulse in up to 1 Tbs. water until the dough just holds together in clumps. Press the dough together, shape into a 6-inch disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom—the dough sides should be 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. To smooth the bottom, cover with plastic wrap and press with a flat-bottom measuring cup or glass. Freeze the covered shell for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the plastic, line the dough with parchment and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake the tart shell until the top edges are light golden, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and beans, reduce the heat to 375°F, and continue to bake until the shell is golden all over, about 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Make the filling

In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it melts and the milk solids turn brown, swirling the pan occasionally for even browning, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour into a small heatproof bowl to stop the cooking.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch. Whisk in the eggs.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1-3/4 cups milk, the sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat, whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, and then whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk. Return to medium heat and continue whisking until the filling boils and becomes very thick, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the brown butter and vanilla.

Spread the filling evenly in the tart shell and set aside at room temperature while you prepare the topping.

Make the topping

Using a sharp knife, trim off the peel and pith from the oranges. Halve the oranges lengthwise and then slice them thinly crosswise and remove any seeds. Arrange the orange slices on the top of the tart in concentric, slightly overlapping circles.

Stir the marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Strain and then stir in the Cointreau. Brush enough of the mixture on the oranges to give them a shine (you may not need it all). Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving so the filling can set up.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): fat g 22; Fat Calories (kcal): 200; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 13; Protein (g): protein g 6; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 54; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 110; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 110; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I loved this recipe--it was stunning to behold, and not too sweet at the end of a hearty meal! Tip: The trick here is to slice the oranges as think as possible so that your knife will cut through them without damaging the aesthetics. Substitution: My local grocery didn't have blood oranges and I couldn't get to a liquor store for the Cointreau, so I marinated some of the navel oranges in merlot. It made an equally gorgeous presentation.

I give this a 4 because my boyfriend really liked it, but I wasn't as crazy about the unique taste. The custard on its own was very tasty though. However, if I were making this again, I would probably skip the 30 minute refrigeration for the crust. For me, it made it more difficult to press evenly into the tart form. Otherwise, it was easy to make with a stunning presentation. And eat as soon as possible - the crust starts to get gummy when stored over 2 days in the fridge.

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