So spring finally hit California this past week. It was absolutely gorgeous. The sky was clear, the sun was shining brightly, and the birds were chirping. I woke up this morning feeling invigorated, and after I saw this in my potted plant, I felt good.
Feeling inspired by the moment, I decided that I should close winter and welcome spring with a tart that suits this transition - A blood orange crostata.
The reason I loved this tart is because even though this is baked citrus, it tasted like blood orange jam, just pure heaven. And I fell in love when I opened the oven and saw a golden brown crust with the blood orange juice just bubbling.
I love blood oranges - they are sweet, delicious, and stain everything red. The pastry that I used here is very similar to the one I posted last week for the fruit tart. The key is always to use cold ingredients when making pastry - when the cold butter melts in the hot oven, it releases steam creating pockets in your pastry.
The most awesome part is that you can make this the day before, put it in the freezer and bake it off right before you need it! That's convenience for you.
This is what mine looked like before I put it in the freezer:
So unfortunately, I was clearly nothing thinking when I made this. I forgot to take a picture of the final product after I baked it the next day, but I assure you, it was definitely quite delicious.
I promise that when I make it again (oh, I intend to!), I will update this post with a picture that suits the imagery below.
Picture this: Spring is a time of birth and growth. Just like a grand phoenix rising from the ashes with red and orange and golden feathers, this tart had a golden crust, with blood orange juices flowing over the crust. It was a very proud moment for me - it was so beautiful that it made me weep to think that I would be devouring it shortly.
Well, you get the picture.
And it went well with a butter caramel sauce.
You seem shocked! Wait, did I not mention it before? Yes folks! A salted butter caramel sauce, no less. It is the perfect accompaniment to this tart, but you can also pour it over your ice-cream or dip apples in it, and so forth. It can be used for anything (even on some toasted bread - don't knock it till you try it).
This caramel sauce is so good - I promise you that it will not stay for long in your fridge.
Blood Orange Crostata
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 1 one 11-12 inch tart - size can vary depending on how much you roll the pastry out
10 blood oranges (extras are meant to be eaten for quality testing - if you get my drift)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 stick + 1 tbsp unsalted butter - diced and really cold (put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes)
Ice water to bring the dough together (about 3-4 tbsps)
1 egg yolk beaten with some water
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1. In the food processor, combine the flour, sugar, butter, granulated sugar, baking powder and pulse until pebbles of butter are seen. Add the ice cold water and pulse until moist crumbs are formed.
2. Turn the crumbs onto a floured work surface and knead until it comes together. Form a disk and chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes (wrapped) (watch TV or read a book)
3. Roll out the pastry till it's about 11 inches round and a quarter inch thick (and even). Put it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (trust me - do this! It's easier to transport to the freezer later)
4. Put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill the butter in the crust again.
5. Peel the blood oranges and get the segments from half the blood oranges. From the remaining oranges, remove the skin and white pith by cutting down the sides of the oranges - slice it crosswise to get thin sections.
6. Get the crust out - line the segments on the pastry leaving a couple of inches of border.
7. Fold the border onto the segments to close the crostata.
8. Put small pieces of the last tablespoon of butter on the top of the segments.
9. Add the crosswise sections of blood oranges on top.
10. Sprinkle a tablespoon of granulated sugar on top of the sections.
11. Put the crostata with the parchment paper in the freezer - first with the sheet pan and once it's frozen - you can take the sheet pan out (since it's not as fragile at that point).
Keep it frozen overnight, or at least for a few hours.
12. Next day, preheat oven to 375F. Bake the tart off in a sheet pan to catch the bubbling juices.
13. Bake for about an hour or until the crust is deeply golden and the juices are bubbling. Trust me, it's a sight to behold.
14. Let it cool so that it sets up and then serve it with a salted butter caramel sauce.
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: Makes at least more than a cup
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup of heavy cream + 2 tbsp
1. Melt the sugar over medium heat stirring constantly until it's dark brown.
2. Add the butter and let it melt in.
3. Turn the heat off and add the heavy cream (careful! It is hot and will bubble up quite a lot)
4. Stir it and then put it in an airtight container.
Spring, don't just stand out there! What are you waiting for?! Get in here!