Wholesome Wednesday: Blood Orange Curd with Almond Crust

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Every year at Christmas we bake.  It almost seems like our house is entirely heated by the oven.  It’s pushing out cookies and other treats.  I am guessing that most of you don’t have to mediate oven fights, but around here the oven is prime real estate.  Which is why this recipe was an easy pick.  Only a quick bake for the crust and the rest is done on the stove.  So, those fights for oven space can be left in the past.

We have had success with curds in the past.  They won’t separate like a jelly or jam.  The texture is smooth and you won’t find any large pieces of fruit while the rest is sad and fruitless.   The best part about this version is that it’s made with blood oranges.  A favorite around our house because of their flavor and low acid content.  Citrus fruits can pack an acidic punch to my stomach and the blood orange is the mellow cousin between the navel and grapefruit.

The only downside to this recipe is that the crust will eventually get soggy from that curd.  If it were to last more than three or four days it won’t pack the same bite as before.  Not too bad of a downside seeing as the flavor of the almond crust is beyond that of graham crackers or cookies.

This recipe is for a 14 inch tart.  Alison found it in a Year of Pies and we altered it to suit our tastes.  I found you’ll need to add some cornstarch to the curd as no matter how long you cook it, the original recipe didn’t thicken.

Candied Peel: 1 Orange       1/2 cup Water        3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

Cut top and bottom off the orange.  Make 4 scoring indentations through peel of remaining orange.  Pull off peel sections and set aside fruit.  Scrape out the pith with a spoon and discard.  Next, cut each piece into 1/4 inch strips.

Bring saucepan with water to a boil.  Add the strips and boil for 1 minute.  Then, drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Repeat 2 times.

Return empty saucepan to stove and add sugar and water.  Stir over med-high heat till sugar dissolves.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.  Add orange strips and reduce heat to low.  Simmer till soft and translucent about 15-20 minutes.

Using tongs, remove the peel and place on a baking sheet.  Allow to cool for 1 hour. Chop into 1/4 inch dice.  After dicing, make sure to toss candied peel with granulated sugar.  This will keep it from sticking.

Curd:    4 large eggs                                   10 tablespoon unsalted butter        1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
            1 cup granulated sugar                    Juice and zest of 4 oranges (3 blood and 1 navel)

Place eggs in med metal bowl (to use as a double boiler later).  Beat well.

Fill med sauce pan with water (2 inches for double boiler) over med-high heat.  Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.

To eggs, add sugar, butter, orange juice and zest and cornstarch.  Whisk gently till sugar dissolves.

Stir till mixture thickens about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to lidded container and refrigerate until set.

Almond Shortbread Crust:  14 inch or 9.5 inch round tart
1/4 cup almonds, toasted                     1/2 teaspoon sea salt                 1 1/4 cup flour
10 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter    1/2 cup powdered sugar     1 egg yolk

Butter tart pan and set aside.

Place almonds, flour, sugar and salt in food processor.  Pulse until fully combined.  Stop before nuts form a paste.

Add butter and egg yolk to nut mixture and pulse till crumbly.

Press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farnenheit.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool.

Assembly:   Fill prepared crust with curd.  Sprinkle with candied peel.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

There you have it.  A somewhat healthy dessert for a family gathering.  Fairly simple in terms of technique and guaranteed not to monopolize your oven.

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