the thin chef

A Late-Winter (or Early-Spring) Tart

I’ve always thought that citrus is nature’s way of giving us hope that sunnier, warmer days are right around the corner. Think about it: these tart-sweet, refreshing, bright fruits are like sunshine in a bite. And the height of their season is the coldest part of the year. Although it’s been in the high 70s and low 80s here in Florida, I’ve heard it’s been a frosty last few weeks of winter in the rest of the country. Citrus to the rescue! I’ve already told you how I was lucky enough to grow up with oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, and kumquats in my backyard (literally). I love citrus, so when Food52 announced this contest, I knew what I was going to make. (Unfortunately, due to user error I’m sure, my tart didn’t make it into the entries. My computer froze, I never went back, and realized it a day too late. Nerds.)

But I’m still glad I made this tart. It’s a little time consuming, but the steps are simple. And it’s worth it to bite into the creamy, dreamy center and taste the sunny orange slices and rich chocolate crust. The filling reminded me of a dreamsicle, all creamy and smooth and just orangey enough to be fresh. The chocolate-crumb crust is made even richer with a layer of dark chocolate ganache, an addition that gives the tart a lovely, silky texture. Even though it didn’t make it into the contest, Jason and I loved it, and I hope you will, too.

Creamsicle Tart with Chocolate Crust
Makes 1 (9-inch) tart

If you have unsalted sliced almonds, just add a bit of salt to the crust. It shouldn’t taste salty, but you should know the salt is there.

8 chocolate graham crackers
1/4 cup (heaping) salted sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
7 tablespoons butter, melted

Creamsicle custard filling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
Zest of 2 large oranges
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

Orange topping
4 large oranges, peel and white pith removed, cut into segments and patted dry with paper towels

For the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine graham crackers and almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
  3. Place crumbs in a bowl and add sugar and butter, stirring with a fork to combine. Pour mixture into a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Push crumbs into bottom and up sides of pan, making sure the crust is even.
  4. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the creamsicle custard filling

  1. Combine cream, milk and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring cream mixture just to a simmer, then remove from heat. Set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
  4. Add steeped cream to the egg yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

For the chocolate ganache

  1. Heat cream in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot.
  2. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour cream over chocolate, and stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth.

Assemble tart

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Pour about 3/4 of the chocolate ganache into the bottom of the crust, and gently spread to edges.
  3. Pour custard filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout.
  4. Place crust (in pan) on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven.
  5. Carefully pour custard filling into crust over ganache. Fill almost to the top of crust.
  6. Bake tart until filling is mostly set but still wobbles slightly in the center, about 30 minutes.
  7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then gently remove ring, and cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate tart until set, at least 3 hours.
  8. Top with orange segments.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at 10:03 am and is filed under dessert, fruit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


4 Responses to “A Late-Winter (or Early-Spring) Tart”

  1. Lytle Says:

    Beautiful, Katie! I still have two bags of citrus in my fridge, despite valiant attempts at eating and juicing them for weeks. I saw a creamsicle tart recipe in my Baked Explorations cookbook and it got my attention – but I like yours with the chocolate crust and chocolate ganache (of course!). Thank you for sharing.

  2. Joseph Hayes Says:

    This caught my eye before I even realized who it was or that we’d just talked about the tart! Next year’s crop of blood oranges will go right into one of these.

  3. Peyton Says:

    Oh I didn’t know you didn’t make it into the contest — boooo! Well, contest or no, it definitely looks amazing. :) xo

  4. lainie Says:

    Yum kater!!! This looks delicious. Now I just need an excuse to make it!!