Blood Orange Tart

I’ve already mentioned how much I loved my meal at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in Santa Monica. I especially loved the desserts we had there and was excited to rediscover this recipe I had bookmarked from Zoe Nathan, the pastry chef at both Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry. I love citrus and am especially fond of blood oranges but often I don’t like the taste of cooked citrus—it can lose its brightness really quickly. I was skeptical about this recipe, which is why it had been on hold for so long. But when the ice cream I had planned for dessert fell through because I forgot to freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker—I decided to finally give this tart a try.

Sometimes ice cream bowls are left out of the freezer for a reason. Through some miracle of nature and science this tart works shockingly well. The flaky pastry crust is just the right base for the slightly bitter blood oranges which manage to taste remarkably fresh and vibrant despite spending over an hour in a hot oven. This is due, in part, to the fact that you freeze the assembled tart until it is solid which buys you some extra baking time for the crust. Caramel sauce is the addition that really pushes this over the edge and makes it one of the best things I have baked (or eaten) in a very long time.

Peeling and slicing the oranges is annoying, but worth the effort so be like Nike and Just Do It. Make sure you have a sharp knife, because otherwise you might hate me for this recipe. I think this probably is supposed to serve 6 people but the 4 of us ate it all without any problem and I could have gone for another slice.

Blood Orange Tart (Recipe from Zoe Nathan via Food and Wine)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 8 to 10 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each)
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • Salted Caramel Sauce, for serving***

In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.

Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.

Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely. Serve with the Caramel Sauce.

*** You can use your favorite caramel recipe here. THIS is what Nathan recommends, it seemed too complicated to me so I just made my usual caramel:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (preferably fancy salted butter but you can also do regular unsalted and add a generous pinch of sea salt)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it turns a nice medium amber color. Add the butter and stir with a whisk to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. It will bubble and steam and go a little crazy, so be careful. Whisk until you have a smooth sauce, return to low heat if you need to melt any hardened caramel. This will keep in fridge for a while.

49 comments to “Blood Orange Tart”

  1. The colours in that are just glorious. Divine!

  2. Ooooh, that looks divine; what a magnificent color. However, I’m not sure I will get to the recipe any time soon since I am no longer a Whole Foods shopper and I can’t imagine that Trader Joe’s will stock blood oranges. Damn. WRT your last comment in your previous post, I don’t dine much at Marion Street, I mostly shop. I don’t think I have ever been there for lunch. I have two kids, and feeding them is often like trying to feed Jack Sprat & his wife. For example, my oldest requests raclette for his special birthday meal while my youngest cries if you forget and put parmesan on the pasta. So….

  3. Beautiful. Well done!

  4. I’m not a huge fan of cooked citrus, either, but MAN does that look amazing. Gorgeous.

  5. Looks delish! I can do this!! Love your site!

  6. Tim- Blood oranges are one of my favorite fruits–esp. in the dead of winter, as they seem to just brighten everything. :) Def. going to have to give this a try.

  7. thrilled to find this wonderful-looking recipe. I’m on a bit of galette-making binge (chronicled on my blog, Margin Notes) and this is going to be the next one on my list. thanks so much for writing it up

  8. i’ve had this recipe bookmarked to try!!! citrus makes winter bearable. just made a citrus salad with blood oranges.

  9. Wonderful photos. Great looking recipe. Thanks for posting. I am a huge fan of blood oranges, but I have never really cooked with them. Now I have something to try.

  10. I have been drooling over this recipe since I saw it in Food and Wine a couple years back. I haven’t made it yet because the right occassion hasn’t come up and because I’m afraid of exactly what you predict, that it’s so good, I’ll just want to demolish it off in an embarrassing amount of time. One of these days soon, I will be trying it!

  11. Tim, that last photo looks like something straight out of Gourmet Magazine (sniff). So beautiful.

  12. I never eat a blood orange, even never see it in market.
    When i see these images,i feel it is very acid.
    Tart is my favorite pastry,I love strawberry tart.

  13. hmm… I’ve just bought some blood oranges, I made compote last year and was looking for something a little different :)

  14. Ummph…I am weak in the knees just looking at this GORGEOUS tart/gallette/crostata~! The citrus is stunning, and how crumbly and buttery does that crust look? I can just semall and taste this piece of loveliness! And, …the salty-caramel sauce? Double-ummph :)! Thanks for sharing such a lovley and inspiring post!

  15. Ummph…I am weak in the knees just looking at this GORGEOUS tart/gallette/crostata~! The citrus is stunning, and how crumbly and buttery does that crust look? I can just smell and taste this piece of loveliness! And, …the salty-caramel sauce? Double-ummph :)! Thanks for sharing such a lovely and inspiring post!
    PS- I saw a similar tart in Big Sur Bakery Cookbook using pink grapefruit. Also pretty, but I’ll try the blood oranges!

  16. as soon as i saw the first photo i knew which recipe this was – it’s a good one! i use that salted caramel sauce with so many other things, too.

  17. Seeing the color of this and imaging the burst of flavor in each bite just made my day!

  18. This is absolutely gorgeous. Love the colors and the rustic beauty of your finished tart. Inspiring!

  19. Wow! Wow! This is amazing. :-) I love the earthy, rustic nature of the crust and the color of the oranges is gorgeous.

  20. oh how i love blood oranges. and caramel. i think i’m in love.

  21. That is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I almost bought blood oranges at the farmers market last week but didn’t. Now I definitely have to so I can try this!

  22. tehehe, I think it’s cute that you have Tavi’s blog on the side. She’s the smartest girl with blue hair I know!

  23. Hmm, caramel and oranges, who would have thought. Sounds as delicious as it looks! Plus I love all the layers and shapes and colors those tasty blood oranges have.

  24. Love the flavors here. Gorgeous!

  25. Trader Joe’s stocks blood oranges from time to time here in Long Beach CA.

  26. !!!!! I love this – I don’t have any other words, I just love this. :)

  27. We are a household of two, and I only bought 6 blood oranges the other day. How do you think it would work if I halved the recipe? I was so excited to see your post, as I have been craving craving blood oranges recently.

  28. Trader Joe’s also has blood oranges in Brooklyn, too!

  29. gorgeous tart – i haven’t cooked citrus in a long time, but this looks good enough to try, for sure!

  30. damn gorgeous (though I’ll bet it’s pretty tasty, too)

  31. Wow, beautiful! Your photographs are always so amazing, any tips on achieving better light for my work? (I have a Canon Rebel XT and the lens it came with)

  32. That is one stunning tart! Who would have thought oranges on a tart? love the inspiration!

  33. This looks way too perfect. I love the pop of colour and the brightness that I’m sure exists. Perfection!

  34. I could go for a slice myself. I’ve not tasted blodd oranges and just bought one to try. Now I wish I had 8 to just do it! :)

  35. Wow, I have to say citrus tarts are not something I see often. But the color of this is so striking. And we have a bunch of blood oranges in the markets here. Thanks for the lovely recipe.l

  36. Oh goodness, that looks amazing! I love blood oranges – they’re so beautiful, and so tasty! I am going to try this with tangelos … I have an arsenal of the oranges stashed on top of my fridge. Your photos are fantastic.

  37. This looks fantastic! I love blood oranges! I am really glad I found your blog. Wonderful!

  38. thank you for finally helping me find something else to do with blood oranges. The color alone is making me want a piece.

  39. This looks absolutely delish! I have to try it. I love blood oranges and can’t wait to buy some!

  40. Having made and enjoyed this tart, I want to point out all the extras that can be made from the scraps: candied orange peels, orange syrup (from boiling the peels), orange sugar (from tossing the boiled peels), etc.

  41. To say that this looks sublime is an understatement. I am SO going to try this for my next fancy pantsy dinner party.

  42. Has anyone tried making this with a type of orange besides blood oranges? I’d like to make the tart for a big crowd, but am not sure I want to pay for blood oranges. Do you think another variety would work?

  43. Hi David,
    I haven’t made it with anything other than blood oranges. I think it would be quite different with another type of orange. I think the tartness of the blood oranges is pretty important to the overall taste of the tart. If you do give it a try, I would suggest reducing the amount of sugar you use. Also, I wouldn’t count on this tart serving more than 6 people, so if you are making this for a crowd you’re going to need to make a few of them.
    Good luck, Tim

  44. I’ll try it with another orange and report back. Though maybe I’ll wait and do it for a smaller audience.

  45. How many people will this serve, I wonder? After a big dinner, could it serve 6 or 8 people?

  46. Hi Jennifer,
    The tart serves at most 6 people. I think 8 would be almost impossible.
    Happy baking!

  47. I made this tart and although my edges were a little jagged (the tart was really stuck to the baking parchment when I took it off), it looked fine and tasted delicious. I would say that it serves 5 people well. Serving it for six left them picking the crumbs and all but licking the plate. It was such a hit that I’m making two this week for a bigger dinner party.

  48. omg. i have seriously been dreaming of this since you made it for us. like seriously i think i think about it every other day. omg. i miss it.

  49. I just made this with the most beautiful blood oranges from my San Francisco farmers market and it was so lovely. It’s also a perfect treat to bring to a brunch/lunch get-together – you can do everything the previous night, let it freeze, and then when you wake up it can bake while while you’re getting ready. And it’s so beautiful, it impresses everyone!

What do you think?