I’ve never truly valued citrus, I think. My Greek Grandfather puts lemon on everything and always has a stockpile, sometimes so large that it has extended out onto the balcony of their small second floor apartment. I don’t remember eating many sweet things made with citrus though as a child, besides the occasional tangerine in my lunch box or glass of orange juice with my cereal.
I suppose, as an adult, baking with citrus was a little intimidating, and it’s a practice that I am only now beginning to adore— of course just in time for the end of citrus season. Lately I have felt so inspired by citrus, so enamored by its incredible diversity of color and flavor. I have dreamt of making tarts, and cakes brightened up by the tang of lemon zest and the sweetness of bright orange.
It really is beautiful isn’t it? That something so bright and cheerful can exist in the darkest and gloomiest season of the year. So here is my ode to citrus, just in time, before it slips away for another year.
Pate sucree is one of my favorite doughs: silky soft, slightly sweet, with a cookie-like crunch. Almond frangipane bake up and around orange rounds as they release their sweet juices and crisps on the top. Best served with some fresh whipped cream, stabilized with a tiny bit of yogurt or creme fraiche for a dessert fit to brighten up any gloomy winter night.
- 8 T (113 grams) unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1-inch cubes)
- ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
- 1¼ cups (150 grams) AP Flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) Almond Flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 T (28 grams) heavy cream
- 1 cup (100 grams) almonds
- ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
- 4 T (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 T amaretto (rum or another liqueur could also be substituted)
- 1 tsp orange zest
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3-5 assorted oranges, tangerines, and blood oranges, peeled and cut into rounds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- For Pate Sucree: In a food processor, pulse butter with sugar about 15 times, until sugar is incorporated.
- Add flour and salt, and pulse until butter mixture is about the size of small peas.
- Stir cream into yolk in a small bowl, and add the bowl of food processor. Pulse until incorporated. Do not overmix, dough will still be crumbly.
- Empty contents into a plastic bag, and through bag press the contents into a mass. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
- For Frangipane: Process nuts in food processor until finely chopped.
- Add remaining ingredients and process until emulsified.
- Chill for at least one hour and then pour into rolled out and prepared tart shell. Fill approximately half-way, as the filling will rise once topped and baked.
- Arrange orange round on top of frangipane, laying them gently on top, beginning from the outside and moving inward in concentric circles.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 350, or until top is lightly browned, and frangipane is cooked through. The filling will be soft and slightly under-baked.