Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Orange Tart

My last baking project was an orange tart.  I was inspired to do this because we had several oranges hanging around the kitchen that were on the verge of going bad.  Since neither Josh nor myself eat oranges plain, I wanted to find a recipe that uses oranges.  That task by itself was not easy.  Most recipes that call for oranges want just orange zest or orange juice.  But I had WHOLE oranges.   This recipe called for both orange zest and orange juice.  So I hand squeezed the oranges to get my cup of orange juice.  And I grated a peel to get my orange zest.

Alright.  I was ready to go.

It was a tart, and that required pre-baking a tart shell.  Pastry is not one of my strong suites.  I prefer to just buy a pre-rolled out dough then to make my own.  It just seems like a lot of effort for something I don't even like to eat.  But if I'm going to have a bakery, I need to learn how to do pie crust.  So I followed the directions diligently.  I got the dough mixed.  The cookbook has directions for using the paddle attachment on the mixer.  SCORE!! I don't have to do it by hand.  That makes the consistency of the dough a lot more, well, consistent.  And a lot less physical work for me.

OK.  The dough is mixed.  Time to roll it out.

We have a small kitchen; that small kitchen comes with small counters.  Those small counters are filled with kitchen things like a knife set, coffee pots (yes, plural), canisters of food, utensils, spice rack, etc.  There isn't a whole lot of room left over on the counter with all that stuff on it.  But I didn't have to roll out a whole lot of dough.  I sprinkled my flour and pulled out the rolling pin and started rolling.  I don't really like our rolling pin, but it does get the job done.  Got the dough rolled out to the right size; I folded it in half like the directions say and started to peel it off the counter to line the tart pan.  But part of it stuck to the counter.  Not enough flour on the counter?  Dough too wet?  Counter too wet?  Not sure.  I managed to get it off and line the tart pan.  The dough was thick enough that I could patch the small hole I created.

OK.  Baking a crust "blind," as they say, requires lining the crust with dry beans or rice.  We don't have any dry beans, so I had to use rice.  I would prefer beans because I think they are a better weight and consistency for this application.  But I'll use what I have.  I got the crust lined and place the tartpan on a cookie sheet and into the oven it went.

But the cookie sheet wasn't quite big enough and the tart pan just barely didn't fit.  It sat at an angle in the pan and the rice started to tilt the wrong way.  I didn't realize this was going on until it was too late.  After 15 minutes I pulled the crust out of the oven.  Time to remove the rice.  The crust looked like the photo.  Slightly brown on the edges, glossy on the base.  Perfect.  Except a little bubbling on the edge that was tilted up on the  cookie sheet.  Oh well.  It'll be fine.  Back in the oven for another 15 minutes to brown the rest of the crust.  

After 15 minutes I pulled it out and it was all bubbled up.  The sides had fallen to about half their height and the middle had bubbled up.  There was no bowl left for my filling.  I debated making the crust again, but didn't really want to take the time to do that.  I suppose I'll try to pop the bubbles and make it work.

I made the filling.  I was expecting more of a pudding type filling, but instead had more of a quiche or flan filling.  It was mostly eggs, with a touch of other ingredients for flavor.  I didn't expect it to be so liquidy.  I got the bubbles in the crust popped and had somewhat of a bowl-shape to put my filling.  But still not much.  It was like pouring liquid into a pizza crust.  You can imagine the filling eventually just poured out onto the cookie sheet.  I just let it run out.  I filled the crust as much as I could and dumped half the filling down the drain.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

It cooked up right.  But because of the crust situation, it just didn't look right.

It tasted OK.  I thought it tasted a little rubbery.  You could taste the orange, which is good.  Overall it was fine.  But I think the crust to filling ratio was so high that the texture and consistency was wrong.  

I'd like to try this again.  Maybe I'll just have a crust-baking party one day and try to make the crust just right.  That would require a lot of flour and butter.  But I think it would be worth it.  It would save the ingredients I'd otherwise lose to the filling if I tried it several times week after week.

Next week I get to make a birthday cake for a very special little girl.  My daughter turned one yesterday and her party is this weekend.

Next time, I'll try to get photos as I go through my baking.  I believe this needs to be a photo-documented project.

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