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Blood Orange Tart

March 28, 2013

Blood Orange TartPin it!

Who else gets way more excited about lemon tarts than about chocolate cakes?

(And who else is– or was– eternally tempted yet intimidated by lemon tart recipes? Read on!)

Maybe I’m the odd one out, but even with all of the chocolate-y icing-smeared treats out there, tangy fruit tarts are my kind of dessert– and this one takes the cake.

Sweet and sour. Fresh and citrusy. Practically as refreshing as it is indulgent.

Blood Orange Tart

I made this tart last week to welcome my parents to California and to celebrate my mom’s birthday. (The perks of having a food blogger for a daughter!) …but then I sliced myself a piece to take these photos, even before my parents had arrived. (The downside of having a food blogger for a daughter!)

Blood Orange TartPin it!

We’ve been getting these mini blood oranges from our local farmer’s market stand, and they are insanely tart and addictive. Touch one little wedge to your tongue, and you’ll have a full-body reaction to the surprising sourness, but one second later, you’ll be going back for more. (This makes them extra delightful in last week’s citrusy kale salad…) They must not be quite as sour as lemons, or I wouldn’t be able to eat them with such relish, but they come close enough that I knew this tart recipe would work with exactly the same amount of sugar I’d use for a lemon tart (or a lemon/lime tart!). I’m sure you could substitute any type of citrus juice, but you might want to reduce the sugar a bit if you’re using sweeter fruit.

Blood Orange and Lemon Tart

This has become my go-to dinner party dessert recipe, not just because it’s my preferred dessert to eat, but also because it can be made ahead, you can serve it chilled or not, and the active prep time is only about 40 minutes.

Blood Orange Tart

The vibrant magenta-red of the blood oranges didn’t stick around quite as I’d hoped it would– dulled a bit by the hint of lemon juice and the rich egg yolks– but there were no complaints about the flavor!

Blood Orange Tart

This recipe is based on Alice Medrich’s lemon tart from her book Pure Dessert. All of the recipes I’ve tried so far from that cookbook have worked perfectly, but the lemon tart recipe is a curious exception: follow it exactly and it will leave you with a pathetically meager amount of the luscious lemon filling. (I discovered this, sadly, when hosting a dinner party.) Double the filling ingredients, on the other hand– as I’ve done below, and now you have a tart! (So I suppose you could say the recipe is practically perfect.)

Blood Orange Tart

My discovery about this little glitch in the recipe was no one-time fluke; I’ve made the tart four times in the past month, each time doubling the filling ingredients from those in the cookbook to better fill out the crust. (I’ve even pondered tripling the filling, but my eyes might be bigger than my tart pan.) Yet how this happened is a mystery to me! If anyone else has a clue as to why this otherwise perfect cookbook would instruct you to create barely enough tart filling to cover the entire surface area of the crust, I’d love to hear it.

Blood Orange TartPin it.

But enough grumbling about the details. I love this recipe! And I hope you will all find it to be just as approachable, simple, and rewarding as I have.

Blood Orange Tart

Thank you, Alice Medrich, for helping me overcome any intimidation I once felt at the prospect of baking a lemon tart.

Blood Orange TartPin it!

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Blood Orange Tart
(Adapted from “Lemon Tart” in Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich.)

(Serves 8-10)

Crust Ingredients:
~ 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
~ ¼ cup sugar
~ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
~ ⅛ tsp. salt
~ 1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling Ingredients:
~ 2 large eggs
~ 2 large egg yolks
~ ½ cup fresh blood orange juice (I used 5 small blood oranges)
~ 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or from ½ a lemon)
~ ½ cup sugar
~ 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
~ grated zest of 1 small blood orange and ½ lemon
~ fresh mint leaves, for garnishing and serving

Special equipment needed:
~ 9 ½-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom
~ fine mesh strainer

Blood Orange Tart

How to make it:

1. Move a rack to the lower third of the oven, and pre-heat to 350 degrees.

2. Make the crust: in a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Then use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour, just until well blended. Turn the dough out into the tart pan, and press it thinly and evenly around the sides of the pan and across the bottom.

Press-in Tart CrustPress-in Tart Crust

3. Place the pan on a baking sheet, and bake until the crust becomes golden brown, for 20-25 minutes. (Check after 15 minutes to see if the dough has puffed up from the bottom of the pan; if so, use the back of a fork to press those spots down, and prick it in each of those areas.) Once the crust is ready, you can remove the baking sheet from the oven, but keep the oven on.

Blood Orange and Lemon ZestBlood Orange Tart

4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Assemble a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and set aside. In a small heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together, then set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the blood orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, butter, and optionally zest* over medium heat, until it comes to a simmer. Then gradually pour the hot liquid over the eggs, while whisking them continuously. Transfer the whole mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat, and continue to whisk until it thickens (and begins to simmer around the edges).

* This zest will flavor the tart, but won’t show up in the final product once strained. If you want the zest to speckle your filling, wait and add it after step #5, right before pouring the filling into the crust.

Blood Orange Tart FillingBlood Orange Tart Filling

5. Pour the thickened mixture into the strainer and tap the strainer against the bowl to send the filling through. You can use a rubber spatula to help things along, but only press very gently on the mixture– you don’t want to push any bits of cooked egg white through the strainer. Make sure your spatula has no cooked egg whites on it, and use it to scrape any filling clinging to the bottom of the strainer into the bowl.

Blood Orange Tart FillingBlood Orange Tart Filling

6. Pour the filling into the hot crust, spreading it evenly and making the surface as smooth as possible with a rubber spatula, then return it to the oven for 5 minutes to set the filling. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely before covering and/or transferring to the fridge. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve at room temperature, or chilled. (It will keep nicely for up to three days in the fridge.)

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Blood Orange TartPin it!

Related recipe posts:
> Zesty Lemon Lime Bars
> Cara Cara Orange Cocktail (2 ways)
> Cara Cara Orange Chocolate Cake

49 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    March 28, 2013 9:18 am

    Yum, sounds good! Did she use a smaller tart pan in the original recipe? Upon first glance, this looks like a pumpkin pie! :)

    • March 28, 2013 9:36 am

      Haha, I know– it does look like pumpkin pie until you cut into it…

      And I wondered that, too, the first time I made it, but nope: she calls for a 9.5 inch tart pan, just like I’ve done (and my tart pan is actually a little bit *smaller* at 9 inches!), and besides, her recipe makes just the right amount of dough for the tart crust, so it’s still a mystery!

  2. March 28, 2013 11:41 am

    The pictures are beautiful but I’m sure it tastes even better Allison! WOW! I would love to try this! :-) The zest; always makes recipes taste better!

    • March 28, 2013 11:45 am

      Thank you! Yes, I love adding citrus zest in my cooking and baking… The first time I made this (lemon) tart, I was a little disappointed at how none of the zest made it through the strainer and into the tart– it got caught up with the bits of cooked egg whites– but even so I think the flavor still makes a difference! :)

  3. March 28, 2013 12:51 pm

    That tart looks like utter magic my friend, delicious :D


  4. March 28, 2013 2:13 pm

    This looks lovely. I need to look for blood oranges.

  5. March 28, 2013 3:14 pm

    Wow this pie look so delicious! Fantastic!

  6. March 28, 2013 3:39 pm

    what an awesome way to use oranges. looks great!

    • March 30, 2013 10:38 am

      Thank you! Yes, I was actually hoping it’d use up even more oranges than just 5 of the little ones… guess I should just make it again sometime soon! :)

  7. March 29, 2013 12:24 am

    I love the flavors of blood orange in desserts so I know I’ll love this. Looks great Allison. Really lovely post.

  8. March 29, 2013 5:57 pm

    Great job, Allison! Looks delicious and using blood oranges? Just genius =)

  9. lovefoodlovefitnesslovelife permalink
    March 31, 2013 2:07 pm

    This is making my mouth water! I need to bake this :)

  10. April 1, 2013 4:08 am

    Love how orange it is! Even if it’s not the ruby colour you hoped for, it’s still deliciously intense.

    • April 1, 2013 10:54 am

      Thanks! You can see from some of the photos that the center was a creamier, lighter color than the top, but the surface really was a nice, intense orange. :)

  11. April 2, 2013 6:58 am

    Gorgeous color. I’ll bet it tasted as good as it looks.

  12. April 2, 2013 7:08 am

    I need to do this before the blood oranges are gone!

  13. April 2, 2013 2:20 pm

    That looks A-MAZING!!!! I’m such a fiend for a lemon tart so I know I’ll like this. Yummy

    • April 2, 2013 7:52 pm

      Thanks! I know, I am too– lemon tarts, lemon bars, I love all lemony desserts SO much; I’d choose them over chocolate cake or ice cream any day!

  14. April 5, 2013 5:34 pm

    Boy Eats World shared this recipe on my blog, Our Little Family Adventure, during our Facebook Party today. I love the tart and pinned it for later. I’m looking forward to following you on WP as well as Facebook.

  15. April 10, 2013 8:10 pm

    Oh YUM! I’ve just found your blog as I’m online looking for foodie blogs to follow and get inspiration for my own blog. There are so many it’s hard to know where to start. But I can tell that I’m onto a good thing here. I am a big fan of citrus flavors. So much so I might just ask my wife to make this for my birthday next week. I’m blogging over at Making Love With Food at wordpress too. I’ll let you know if I try out this recipe…although I’ll have to substitute another citrus fruit as we don’t often get blood oranges here in New Zealand.

    • April 11, 2013 10:19 am

      Yay, thanks for stopping by & commenting– all the way from New Zealand. :)
      (I’ve been to NZ once for a vacation when I lived in Japan, and I loved it– such gorgeous landscapes, friendly atmospheres, and good food!)

      I hope you (& your wife) do get to try this recipe, whether you can track down blood oranges or not– after all, I adapted it from a lemon tart recipe. I’ll check out your blog, too! :)

  16. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    April 10, 2013 10:18 pm

    As a huge citrus lover, this is so irresistible. If I am not afraid of baking, I’m sure I’d just stand up and start making this! But sometimes I’m glad I’m not a baker because I guarantee I’d eat half of this tart at one sitting! :D Looks so good!!! I’m jealous. We should be a neighbor. ;)

    • April 11, 2013 10:10 am

      Oh I would love that! I wish we could be neighbors– for many selfish reasons– too. :) And what do you mean you’re not a baker?! Of course you are! We are probably “bakers” to the same degree: we *can* bake occasionally, when recipes are not too intimidating, but we just mostly choose to cook instead.

      (Did you see the quote from the blog “Dinner: A Love Story” ‘s post about 100 rules of dinner that I linked to on my blog’s Facebook page? It said: “Cooking is to baking as pleasure reading is to chemistry homework.”)

  17. April 11, 2013 7:29 pm

    Well, this is just gorgeous in every way.

  18. April 12, 2013 3:05 am

    Wow, this looks beautiful, sounds beautiful and I have absolutely no doubt tasted beautiful!

    • April 15, 2013 10:53 am

      Thanks! Now that you put it that way, it did taste pretty beautiful… :) I love the original lemon tart recipe too– I could eat this kind of dessert every night and never get sick of it!

  19. April 12, 2013 10:51 am

    That’s so sweet of you making this special & appetizing blood orange tart! You did it well too! :) MMMMM! I think, I will make smaller tarts of this & adjust the oven times! Yes!

  20. April 14, 2013 5:34 pm

    Oh my this looks so good! Love the color :)

    • April 15, 2013 10:55 am

      Thank you! I was really happy with the color, too. :) …though you can see it’s much more of a pale orange inside compared to on the surface.


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