my close friend lyudmila got married last week. it was a beautiful wedding, with joy and love emanating from the happy couple in a way that made it so you couldn’t look at them and not smile. the wedding was in charlotte, north carolina, but last night, there was a special celebration for them back here in new york. lyudmila has been one of my biggest blog supporters from the very start – she’s almost always the first person to ‘like’ anything i post on facebook. so i wanted my contribution to the celebration to be a really special dessert.
blood oranges are a winter fruit, so their season is just coming to a close. as their name indicates, they are known for their dark red color, which makes them a strikingly beautiful addition to desserts, salads, and all kinds of other dishes. their taste is pretty similar to that of a regular orange – some people describe them as more sweet, and some people describe them as more bitter… it really just depends on the variety. i think that blood oranges taste like regular oranges, only a little more mellow.
this tart was the perfect way to showcase the beautiful color of the blood oranges. the shortbread crust was flaky but firm, like a giant shortbread cookie. the filling was sweet and creamy, with a mild orange flavor, and the slices of orange added pops of intense orangey-ness throughout. and the salty chopped pistachios were the perfect counterpoint to add some crunch and balance out all the sweetness. and of course, on top of all that, this tart’s appearance made it a real showstopper – the yellow filling, dark red orange slices, and bright green pistachios were ridiculously beautiful together. this tart definitely deserved all of the “ooh”s and “aah”s it got as it came out from the kitchen.
a flaky shortbread crust filled with a creamy orange filling and studded with beautiful blood orange slices and chopped pistachios.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup earth balance
- 1½ tablespoons cold water
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 blood oranges
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup earth balance, melted
- a handful of shelled, roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
- combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. use your fingers (or a pastry cutter, if you're fancy) to work in the earth balance until it is in the size of peas.
- combine the water and vanilla, then stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. stir everything until it comes together into a ball (you might need to use your hands to make it all come together, but don't work it too much).
- form the dough into a disc and wrap it with plastic wrap. refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- press the chilled dough into a greased 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. put it in the freezer to chill for another 30 minutes.
- towards the end of the freezing time, preheat the oven to 375°f. put in the tart and bake it until it is lightly golden, about 25 minutes.
- zest and juice one of the blood oranges. also juice a second one.
- combine the orange juice and zest in a medium bowl with the eggs, sugar, and earth balance. pour this mixture into the prepared crust.
- with your remaining two blood oranges, use a sharp knife to cut away the peel and the white pith. slice them into thin slices, and arrange these slices over the tart filling (they will sink in a bit).
- lower the oven temperature to 350°f, and put the tart in for about 30 minutes, until the filling is completely set. let the tart cool completely before sprinkling with pistachios and serving.