This is for all my blood orange and tart dessert lovers! Blood orange is a newfound love of mine. 

It all started with Aranciata Rossa, a blood orange Italian beverage. I never really thought about blood oranges. As a child, I ate a lot of oranges; I loved how sweet they were but slightly tart. Blood oranges are just a more mature version of that. 

Early on, I worked with them in marinades, using them in whiskey beverages and, finally, I decided it was time to make it a dessert. If you aren’t a fan of sweet desserts, this is the perfect tart for you: Blood orange is a subtle, sweeter and less acidic orange. 

For this tart, I went full Mediterranean, using spices and nuts that pair perfectly with blood oranges. This tart is juicy, earthy and delicately spiced, for a pairing that is surprisingly appetizing.

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Blood Orange Tart With Hazelnut Crust

Preparation time: 45 minutes; cook time: 60 minutes

Serving: 1 9-inch tart

INGREDIENTS
Crust
  • 1½ cups ground hazelnuts (see steps)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom 
  • 2 teaspoons ginger 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes 
  • 1 egg
Filling
  • 10 tablespoons of butter, diced 
  • ¼ cup finely grated blood orange zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup strained blood orange juice (about 5-6 blood oranges)
  • ¼ cup strained lime (or orange) juice
STEPS
For the pastry
  1. Place a handful or two of hazelnuts into a food processor and grind until resembling sand. Measure out 1½ cup of hazelnuts. Return cup of hazelnuts to food processor. Add sugar, salt, cardamom and ginger. Grind for another few seconds until combined. Add flour, and pulse for a few seconds until combined. If your processor isn’t large enough, use a large bowl to whisk the flour and hazelnuts. 
  2. Add butter to food processor, and pulse until butter is the size of peas. You can also cut butter into flour with a pastry cutter. Whisk egg and add to dough. Combine until the dough starts to hold together. Turn dough over on flat surface. Work and shape into a ball. Cover ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. For ease, roll between two sheets of wax paper sprayed with cooking spray, silicone mats or plastic wraps. Place pastry dough into tart pan, carefully pressing into the sides and against the wall. Roll rolling pin over tart pan to cut the edges. Refrigerate tart for 10 minutes.
  4. Place prepared tart pan on baking sheet. Place parchment paper over tart and pour baking weights into tart. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper and bake for additional 8 minutes. Once complete, remove from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Note: You can begin making blood orange curd when you remove the pie weights.
Blood orange curd
  1. Place the butter in a large heatproof bowl. Place a mesh strainer over the bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine blood orange zest, sugar, salt, eggs and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in the blood orange juice and lime juice until combined.
  3. Heat over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the mixture thickens and reaches 160-165 degrees, 8-10 minutes. As you stir, be sure to scrape the entire bottom and corners of the pan. Lower the heat to very low as it gets closer to being done. If the mixture starts to curdle or bubble, immediately remove it from the heat and continue to the next step.
  4. Immediately pour the curd through the strainer and into the bowl of butter. Be sure to scrap the bottom of the fine mesh strainer. Whisk to incorporate the butter, and remove any lumps.
  5. Be sure your oven temperature is reduced to 325 degrees. Pour curd into crust, and bake for 18-25 minutes. Tart is complete when the sides have raised slightly and the center is wobbly like set Jell-O. Tart is overcooked when the center raises and begins to crack. Go by look while using your time, as a checkpoint.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap before placing in fridge to fully cool.