Monday, June 13, 2011

Tarte aux Agrumes (Citrus Tart)

I've always had trouble with pie crusts (or pâté brisée sucrée if you want to be all French about it). But this crust came together easily for me. I didn't use the traditional method of putting the ingredients on the counter, making a well and "fraisage-ing" the dough. I used my food processor, threw all the ingredients in and whizzed until the dough formed a ball. So much simpler, and it was my best crust yet.

This tart (a pie has a crust on top and bottom, but a tart just has the bottom crust) is composed of orange pastry cream and macerated slices of orange and lemon.

Why does fruit retain its shape when heated in sugared water but break down when heated with just plain water?
It is a case of osmotic pressure. If you heat it in plain water, the sugars inside the cell want to cross the cell membrane and try to equalize their concentration inside and out. With sugar in the water, the osmotic pressure is already equal so they don't need to leave the fruit.
Michael at Herbivoracious

The citrus pastry cream (crème pâtissière in French) is an important component of this tart. Pastry cream is just a pudding that’s used as a filling in éclairs, tarts, pastries, cream puffs, cakes, and so on. When making pastry cream, the tricky part is avoiding burning it as the mixture thickens.

Finally, you heat the orange juice and apricot jelly to reduce and form a glaze.

This tart is not difficult once you break it down into its four components: pastry, fruit in syrup, pudding and glaze. But it's the pastry that takes the prize in this recipe.

Recipe for Tarte aux Agrumes (Citrus Tart)

1½ cups sugar
1½ cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 small oranges, unpeeled and sliced thin
2 lemons, unpeeled and slied thin

Pâté Brisée Sucrée
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

Orange Pastry Cream
1 cup orange juice, strained
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Cointreau (I left this out)

Orange Glaze
Juice of 3 oranges, strained
½ cup apricot jam or jelly, strained
Fresh mint for garnish

You can find the recipe for Tarte aux Agrumes (Citrus Tart) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home.

Tasting Notes
One of my daughters loves any sort of pie, so she enjoyed this one. I don't really like pastry cream, so this wasn't my favorite tart. But the crust was out of this world.


Dorie's The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Dorie's Tartest Lemon Tart
David Lebovitz: Tarte au citron: Lemon Tart Recipe

Next Time

Tartelettes aux Fraises (Strawberry Tartlets) page 504


Sara said...

This looks insanely good! Gorgeous photos! :)

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

Wow they look so perfect! Hooray for food processors!

Cooking Rookie said...

I love absolutely everything about this recipe! Looks like a lot of work, but I bet the result is well worth it! It's a keeper :-)

kellypea said...

I wish I didn't love pastry cream, but alas, I do. Lovely, lovely tarts. You've been busy!