Caramel is just so fun to play with! If you have never tried a blood red orange, you really must. Besides the lovely speckled patterns, it has a refreshing balance of sweet and bitter that you don’t find in other oranges. A buttery shortcrust pastry made for a very satisfying contrast of textures.
the recipe for caramel tarts with blood red orange:
(adapted from a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks)
for the crust:
- 250 g flour
- 50 g sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 150 g butter at room temperature
- 2 tbs cold water
for the caramel:
- 150 g sugar
- 50 g salted butter
- 20 g heavy or double cream
- 3 tbs water
Prepare the crust. Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the center and add the egg yolk and softened butter. Mix with the tips of your fingers until you have a dough with a sandy texture. Incorporate 2 tbs of cold water and shape the doug into a ball. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
Prepare the caramel, heating the sugar with 3 tbs water in a heavy saucepan. If you have never done this, here’s the drill: mix water and sugar well together, then heat at a medium heat without stirring much. The sugar will melt and bubble, then start to darken after a few minutes. When it has taken on a nice golden brown color, remove from heat. Off the heat, stir in the butter and cream. Return to stove and heat, stirring without stopping this time, until the caramel has thickened. Count on cooking for about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 170°C or 340°F. Roll out the cold dough and press into tartlet tins. Place in the oven and cook the empty crusts for about 20 minutes. Note: The dough must still be cold when you put it in the oven. If it’s a hot day, put your garnished tartlet tins in the fridge again for about 15 minutes, then directly in the oven. This should keep the sides of your tartlets from falling when they come in contact with the heat of your oven.
Remove tartlet shells from their tins and fill with the caramel cream.
Garanish with a part of blood red orange. Mine were dipped in a simple caramelized sugar and layed on waxed paper to harden. To do this, make another caramel, but using only sugar and water. When you have the right color, a good golden brown, carefully, carefully, carefully dip your oranges. And be careful! It’s really hot! Have some cold water ready in case you manage to dip your little pinky too.