Citrus Tart

Part 2 of the saga that is the Sourdough Starter is forthcoming, I promise. But having just gotten back from a weekend of camping beneath redwoods and barrel tasting at wineries in Russian River Valley — I know, what a tough life I lead — I will instead tell you about one of my favorite dessert recipes. Besides, you probably need a break from looking at pictures with jars of foamy liquids anyway, no?

The combination of oranges and lemons in this tart makes it sweeter and less intensely acidic than a pure lemon tart (which I also love) and also gives the tart a pretty orange-y glow. Just make sure not to overcook the tart – it should still be quite jiggly in the middle when you take it out of the oven, since it’ll continue setting as it cools. The first couple of times I made this, I kept thinking it’s not done and ended up with a tart with a cracked top and dense overcooked filling. It wasn’t awful and we certainly gobbled it all up still, but if you’re a little more careful, you’ll be rewarded with a soft, custard-like filling that is much, much better.

ps: Check it out! I joined a Foodie Blogroll!

Tart shell:
1 large egg, separated
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
small bowl of ice water

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. finely grated (with a rasp) fresh orange zest
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated (with a rasp) fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the tart shell, sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter cubes and mush into flour mixture with fingers until mixture looks like wet sand with some pea-size lumps of butter. Add egg yolk and stir together with fork to moisten the dough. Add ice water by the tablespoon until the dough gathers into a ball. Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten slightly into a thick disk, lay another sheet of plastic wrap on top and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Take dough out of the fridge to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out, about 20 minutes.

Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round. Discard top sheet and invert dough into 9.5-inch tart pan with removable bottom (discard remaining plastic wrap). Fit dough into pan, pushing edge of dough to 1/8 inch above rim. Trim dough and save scraps to repair any cracks in partially baked shell.

Freeze shell until firm, about 10 minutes (or overnight wrapped tightly in plastic).

Line shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights. Beat egg white with a tablespoon of water until foamy.

Bake until edge is golden and bottom is set, about 20 minutes, then carefully remove pie weights and parchment/foil and gently prick any bubbles with a fork to release air. Return to the oven and bake until bottom is pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Quickly repair any cracks in shell with scraps, then immediately brush hot pastry all over with some egg white. Leave oven on.

Whisk together all filling ingredients until combined well – I find this easiest to do in a measuring cup with a pouring spout. Put tart shell (in tart pan) on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Pull the oven rack out slightly and carefully pour filling into shell. If needed, put a pie shield or foil strips over rim of pastry to prevent burning.

Bake tart until filling is barely set but trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 45 minutes. (Filling will continue to set as it cools so don’t overbake it!)

Serve warm or at room temperature.