I have never made a tart. I’ve barely ever made a pie for that matter, but I’m finding more and more that I love baking! And what better opportunity to bake something special than for your honey’s birthday?

So that’s what I did. I decided that I would make a tart. And not just any tart, but a Cream Tart w/ Oranges & Honey in a Toasted Almond Crust.

Gulp.

I was a little weary of the undertaking, not only because of my tart-making virginity, but also because I don’t own a food processor or blender or mixer of any sort. And the recipe called for one. What to do?

Decided to do like the old-timeys, and got myself a pastry blender – those handheld, four-bladed, brass knuckle-type situations. Let me tell you… that thing’s amazing! Who needs a food processor when you’ve got one of these bad boys!

So I had my pastry blender, my whisk, my silicone spatula and a whole lot of elbow grease.

I was ready.

Started out by brushing the bottom of the tart pan with a bit of melted butter.

Then I combined flour, sugar, salt and toasted almond meal (in lieu of crushing almonds in a food processor) in a bowl…

Added a few tablespoons of superchilled butter and set to work with my amazing new pastry blender!

I actually found this kind of enjoyable… like I’m really making something from scratch because I had to put physical energy into it. As I try more and more recipes, and learn more and more about cooking, I’m finding that I appreciate a little sweat, a little hard work. You can really taste the love!

After I’d blended the beginnings of my crust into a coarse meal, I added an egg yolk…

And blended that until it all came together in moist clumps!

Then I just pressed the dough into the tart pan, poked some holes in the bottom with a fork, and into the freezer it went!

I exercised good time management and made the crust the day before the party, since I knew I’d be running around doing all kinds of last minute prep things on the day of. So I just covered the crust and froze it overnight. The next day, I popped it into the oven for about 15 minutes and then left it on a rack to cool and ready itself for the filling!

The filling has a bunch of steps…

First, I prepared the orangey bits I needed. Using the same oranges from my orangettes, I sliced in between each membrane section of the meaty, orangey center…

And was left with beautiful little orange wedges!

At the last minute, I realized that I was supposed to have a tsp of zest (woops!). Luckily, I hadn’t thrown the tops and bottoms of the oranges away…

And got a surprising amount of zest out them!

Once I had all the orange items squared away, it was time to get started on the custard!

First, I combined sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and orange zest in a bowl.

And whisked it all together.

Warmed up some milk in a saucepan and then whisked the egg mixture in…

Stirring constantly for a few minutes until the custard began to thicken and resemble pie filling!

Removed it from the heat, whisking all the while, and added a bit of unflavored gelatin. Mixed that all up, then transferred the whole thing to a separate bowl and left it alone for about 20 minutes to set and thicken.

While the custard did its thing, I poured half a cup of whipping cream into a bowl…

And whisked it until it formed soft, glossy peaks!

Then, I just folded the cream into the custard, ever so gently…

And poured the custard into the cooled, baked pie crust!

I couldn’t believe it… I made a tart! And it looked beautiful! I was a little concerned for a little while because the custard smelled so eggy (and a little gross), but whenever I taste-tested, it tasted of light, airy, orangey goodness. So I figured everything was cool!

Put that bad boy into the fridge until partytime.

Wanna see the final product?

Bam!

Cream Tart w/ Oranges & Honey in a Toasted Almond Crust.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

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