Yes, I am posting a pink recipe for Valentine’s Day, which is sure to elicit both groans and smiles. It is one of the holidays (like New Year’s Eve?) that is both loved and hated. All I know: pink custards are cute!
This is based on a recipe in Baking in America  by by Greg Patent, which is wonderful and comprehensive cookbook that chronicles classic American pasty recipes. The subtitle is Traditional and Contemporary Favorites from the Past 200 Years, which just about says it all. It is full of history, lore and tips and I am very happy to have the book in my collection. One of the reasons I love recipes and recipe books as much as I do is that they are all history books. (I am currently really into cookbooks from the 1980’s. It seems like a good time for baking.)
The original recipe is for lemon bars, which I am sure would be delicious (as would grapefruit), but Bryan claims to not like lemon desserts (can you sense the skepticism?). I tried this variation with blood orange, and was glad I did because the pink works. It was a big success with the test audience (Bryan and me!) and perfect for sharing with the people you love, or for being selfish with and enjoying on your own.
Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers. I hope you all have an excellent weekend.
Blood Orange Bars (adapted from a recipe by Greg Patent)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cottage cheese (not fat-free)
- Finely grated zest of 1 blood orange
- 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
Beat the butter, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and beat it on low speed until thoroughly combined. Press the crust firmly and evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 minutes.
For the filling, process the cottage cheese in a food processor for a minute or two, until very smooth. Add the orange zest, lemon juice, sugar, flour, baking powder, egg, and egg whites and process for 10 seconds. Scrape the work bowl and process for another 10 seconds.
Pour the filling over the hot crust. bake for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is slightly puffed and set. let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at a few hours, until thoroughly chilled. Serve cold.