This is a recipe for baked cream infused with citrus, wrapped in a crumbly pastry crust. It is the kind of tart that reminds me of wandering through Paris without a purpose. Envision narrow streets filled with cafés spilling out onto the sidewalk . . . . . . bookstore window-shopping and artfully arranged pastry shops worthy of a starring role in a romantic movie . . . . . . and you are at the exact place that inspired this dessert.
The citrus infused cream is easy to prepare and works as the perfect sweet excuse for drinking tea in the early afternoon. Both the pastry as well as the filling can be made a day in advance. I happened to have some bergamot and blood oranges and so I created a mixed citrus tart. The classic combination is made simply with lemons but please eel free to experiment with lemons, limes, oranges or a combination of all. The recipe quantities mentioned below are for a tart form 22 cm. in diameter.
Ingredients for the citrus-infused cream filling
- The zest of one lemon and one blood orange . about 5 grams
- 70 ml of freshly squeezed citrus juice . my favorite is bergamot and blood orange
- 70 grams of raw cane sugar
- four organic egg yolks . 80 grams total weight
- 140 grams of heavy cream
- 5 grams of raw cane sugar to top off the tart
Ingredients for the sweet crumbly pastry crust
Making the pastry
Prepare the sweet pastry crust first, as described in the linked recipe added here above. For a tart form 22cm in diameter, you will need approximately 250 grams of pastry. Roll out what remains to make small fruit tarts or simple shortbread-like cookies, or simply make half a recipe.
Allow the rolled out pastry crust to chill in the tart form at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile 0reheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (with the fan on). Make light indentations on the pastry bottom with a fork, then cover it with parchment paper, making sure to include the sides. Fill the bottom of tart form with dried beans or rice, and bake it 15 minutes. This process is called blind baking; it bakes the crust partially without the filling, and is often used for tarts that have a creamy or delicate filling.
Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before removing the parchment paper filled with beans or rice. Put the pastry crust back into the oven and bake it ten minutes, or until pale golden in color. Let the pastry cool in the tart form while preparing the filling. Meanwhile, turn down the oven temperature to 130 degrees Celsius, with the fan on.
Making the citrus-infused cream filling
Scrub the bergamot and blood orange in warm water with a brush. Peel the zest of both citrus fruits into a bowl with a zester or a fine grater. Squeeze the citrus juices and set them aside in a jug. Separate the egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and 5 grams citrus peel (about one tablespoon) to the yolks. Whisk the ingredients a few minutes until the sugar is incorporated. Pour 75ml citrus juice into the egg and sugar mixture slowly and steadily, while whisking continuously. Finally, add the heavy cream and stir until just mixed.
Place the pre-baked pastry crust in the middle of an oven tray. Pour the filling to the top edge of the crust and put the tray carefully in the middle position of the oven. Bake the tart 30 minutes at 130 degrees Celsius, or until the cream is set. Remove the tart from the oven and sprinkle the top with a teaspoon of raw cane sugar. Allow it to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting it into slices with a very sharp knife.
This tart is complete in and of itself. Add some orange or lemon zest for a bit of texture if you like. To create a beautiful plate, add some fresh blood orange sections in winter, and fresh strawberries or raspberries in summer.
This tart is delicious when chilled. You may have more citrus zest than you need. If so, I suggest making lemon-scented flour for your next sweet project.
Save the egg whites in the refrigerator up to two days after separating them from the yolk. They are the essential ingredient to the making of meringues. Egg whites can be incorporated into many pancake, crêpe, or omelette recipes