blood orange meringue tarts

Hi Every-one,

another busy weekend has just been and gone. I finally decided on a rug for my living room and I brought it home on Saturday. Sunday I met friends for dinner and took these little blood orange meringue tarts with me for dessert.

They're a slight riff on the lemon meringue tarts I made for decor8 last year. Blood orange is nowhere near as tart as lemon juice, so I've dialed back the sugar content in the curd.

I bought the tart rings from Dehillerin when I was in Paris earlier this year and haven't had a chance to use them until now. They were a bit fiddly to work with but I like the professional look of the straight edge tart shells.

I was a bit worried the meringue might stick leaving me with a sticky mess but thankfully, the tarts come away from the ring without too much effort.

I left the tarts in the fridge for a few hours to set and went up to the shops to post a parcel. Since I was last there 2 weeks ago, the post office has changed locations and is no longer open on Sunday so I came home with the parcel and a new pair of shoes!

Here's the recipe for you and yes, it's all a bit fiddly. I made the curd the day before making the tarts but it's probably a good idea to make the tart shells the day before as well.

Blood Orange Meringue Tarts (makes six 7 - 8 cm tarts)
Crumb layer
2 tsp dry breadcrumbs
2 tsp caster sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Put to one side.

110 gm (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
¼ cup almond meal
1¼ cups plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor with the lemon rind and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and a little cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade.

Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball. You won't need all the pastry for this recipe, so divide it in half and wrap one half in plastic and store in the freezer for another time. Flatten the remaining half slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Place the remaining dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use greaseproof paper) and roll out thinly with a rolling pin.

Grease six 7 - 8 cm tartlet tins. Cut out circles of pastry large enough to fit the tart shells. Line the tins with the pastry and trim the edges of the tart tins with a sharp knife. Lightly prick the pastry surface with the tines of a fork and return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Line the tart shells with muffin liners and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the tart shells are golden. Take the tart shells out of the oven and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture over the base of the warm tart shells. Place the tart shells on a wire rack to cool.

Blood orange curd filling

3 large egg yolks 
Finely grated rind of 1 blood orange and ½ lemon
⅓ cup strained blood orange
30 ml strained lemon juice 
⅓ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
75 gm (3 oz) unsalted butter
Place the egg yolks, the rinds, juice, cornflour and sugar into a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Keep whisking for 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter in small batches until incorporated. Set aside to cool. When cool place the curd in the fridge and allow to set. 

Meringue topping
2 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
½ cup caster sugar
Additional caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. In a large clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until thick and gradually add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat until the sugar dissolves. Using a spoon, decoratively swirl the meringue over the filled tart shells or you can pipe the meringue, sealing the tarts completely with the meringue. Place the tart shells on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle a little extra caster sugar over the meringue topping.

Bake the tarts in the preheated oven (190°C/375°F) for 10 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. If you prefer, you can use a brulee torch to colour the meringue.

Cool the tarts on a wire rack. Once the tarts have cooled return to the fridge for a few hours to allow the filling to firm before serving.

Here's the finished product.

I've a few blood oranges left in the fruit bowl and I was thinking of making either a blood orange poppy seed cake or a blood orange and passionfruit tart to round out blood orange month. 

Any thoughts on which one I should make?

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

See you all again next week.



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