The French Orange Cream Tart, which was this week's Alpha Baker exercise, wasn't difficult but it did take a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing and multiple fridge and oven openings and closings. But then when you're baking on a weekend anything that makes you get off the couch can seem like a lot of work.
This tart was worth the effort of propping myself up at the kitchen bench. It was very creamy and strongly orange. In fact I'd probably cut down the orange zest next time because it had a slightly bitter orange flavour which reminded me a bit of the dreaded candied orange peel (blergh! in case you'd forgotten how I feel about that). It would probably be lovely with the recommended toffee-d top (the texture of the creamy filling was very much like creme brulee), but I was taking this on a picnic so I didn't attempt it.
The pastry was quick and easy in the food processor. Just whiz up the sugar and cold butter and add in the flour until you have small peas (or pea dust in my case - no, there's no such thing as pea dust). Then pulse in cream and an egg yolk. I was surprised and happy to end up with dryish lumps by the final pulse of the processor. This doesn't sound like something you should be happy about in baking. But I almost always find my pastry ending up very wet and completely combined. This time I was able to put it on some gladwrap and push it together as per the recipe. Hopefully ending up with a lighter, flakier pastry.
Instead of resting it then rolling it out, I rolled it out immediately into an extremely approximate 12 inch blob (this was a hint from another Apha Baker which I thought I'd try - sorry I can't remember who it was). Then I put it in the fridge to rest before lining the tart tin.
Patchwork pastry - it's a lot like amateurs cutting hair; once you start adding bits and pressing it's very hard to stop. Given the patch job I was pretty pleased with how the pastry turned out (I didn't take a photo of the baked shell but you can see it in the finished tart photos below).
While the tart case was resting I got on to the custard filling. Zesting and juicing the oranges and lemons was a bit tedious and sticky. The zest is processed with sugar before mixing with a LOT of egg yolks.
Then you add cream and concentrated orange and lemon juice. In between times I had rested then baked the pastry shell with a collar of alfoil to keep the edges from burning. Then, because I hate waiting, I put the tart filling into the not-that-cool pastry case and put it in the oven (still with it's pretty foil collar).
My tart took a lot longer than the suggested baking time. This seems to be a theme with my Alpha Baker projects so I presume it's my oven calibration (or lack of). I resisted the temptation to turn the heat up, and instead just let the custard slowly set. It didn't seem to suffer for the extra time and the pastry wasn't burnt.
I like this picture of the bare slice of tart without adornment. It's nice to make things look pretty but really the creamy texture and strong orange flavour of this tart is able to stand all on its own.
Next week we're back to bread baking with Classic Brioche, and I'm looking forward to it.