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Mixed Citrus Cream Tart with Almond Crust

Mixed Citrus Cream Tart with Almond Crust

Renée Robinson

This One Truly Does Melt-In-Your-Mouth.

Here’s a tart that’s perfect for the holiday season. It’s colorful, the crust, filling, and toppings can be made the day before, and oh, man, is it delicious. 

I wanted an almond crust because I love the combination of citrus with almonds. But I didn’t want to use almond flour. I wanted to have bits of almonds in the crust. I adapted David Tanis’s recipe for a hazelnut crust that he had adapted from a David Lebovitz cookie recipe, which he had taken from Terresa Murphy. Yeah, this is how recipes come into being. It’s rare that anyone actually reinvents the wheel.

The crust is more like a shortbread/cookie type of crust than a normal pastry crust. It’s made with rice flour which gives it a crunchy bite, comes together very easily, and also makes the recipe gluten free. 

Almond Tart Crust

Now, about this filling. I’ve run into this recipe for many years and finally got around to making it. Dorie Greenspan was taught how to make it from the great Pierre Hermé and I’ve adapted it for my tart by using several different kinds of citrus juices and zests. It’s another example of the circuitous paths of recipes. This filling is unlike any curd or pastry cream I’ve ever made. There is no milk or cream. Sugar, citrus juices and zests, and eggs are cooked in a double boiler just until they reach 180°, at which point the mixture is poured into a blender. It then sits and cools until it reaches 140°. 

A note about the double boiler. Dorie posted an update to the original recipe, explaining how she simply uses a large metal bowl, which is set over a large pot of simmering water. No need for a classic double boiler. And that’s exactly how I did it. It only took about 10 minutes to reach the desired temperature, but it’s extremely necessary to continually whisk the mixture during this step.

After about 10 minutes in the blender, the mixture cools to 140° and here’s where it gets very interesting. 21 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter are added to the blender while it’s running on high speed. You add it in a few stages, but it blends quickly. Then you continue to run the blender for a full 3 minutes. What occurs is an emulsification of the ingredients. The butter never melts. Instead you’re left with a light and creamy consistency, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. 

It seems contrary to the addition of all that butter, but this filling has a lighter mouthfeel than curd or pastry cream. It’s common to describe something as having a silky texture, but there’s really no other way to describe this cream. It’s out of this world delicious. You put it in a bowl and let it chill before spooning it into the cooled crust. As I mentioned, I made the crust and the filling the day before I served the tart.

The next morning I got the notion that I’d like to top the tart with lightly candied slices of the citrus I had used in the filling. I made a simple syrup, added a few star anise and a dried habanero pepper, and cooked slices of navel oranges, clementines, and lemons until they were nice and tender. The spice and chile added an extra dimension of interest, but didn’t overwhelm the bright and floral flavors of the citrus.

Candied Citrus Slices

After spooning the cream into the crust and letting it chill for an hour, I topped it with the candied citrus slices. A little bit of whipped cream and pomegranate arils finished it off nicely. When the first bite of that cold citrus cream hit my mouth and started melting, it was a sensation unlike any I’d ever experienced. Simply heavenly.

Mixed Citrus Cream Tart with Almond Crust

And here’s another tidbit of information: Dorie says the cream should be eaten within 4 days. My tart kept covered in the refrigerator for 6 days until we finished off the last slice. It hadn’t suffered in the least. It was still as pretty as it was on the first day and the filling, crust , and toppings tasted perfectly fresh. 

Mixed Citrus Cream Tart with Almond Crust

Recipe by Renée Robinson
Servings

8-10

servings

An Almond Gluten Free Crust is filled with a Citrus Cream that is the most luscious thing I've ever tasted. I topped it with lightly candied citrus slices, whipped cream and pomegranate arils. This will most definitely make the season bright!!

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Ingredients

  • Almond Crust**
  • 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 (180g) sliced almonds

  • 1 cup 1 (125g) rice flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 fine sea salt

  • 1 stick 1 (8 tablespoons) salted butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 (100g) granulated sugar

  • Orange Cream
  • 1 cup 1 (200g) granulated sugar

  • Finely grated zest of 1 large navel oranges, 2 clementines, and 2 lemons

  • 4 large 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 freshly squeezed clementine juice

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 21 tablespoons 21 unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 heavy cream, lightly whipped with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar for garnishing

  • 2 tablespoons 2 pomegranate arils for garnishing

  • Candied Citrus Fruits
  • 1 large 1 navel orange, ends trimmed and sliced into 1/3 inch thick slices

  • 2 2 clementines, ends trimmed and sliced into 1/3 inch thick slices

  • 1 1 lemon, end trimmed and sliced into 1/3 inch thick slices

  • 1 cup 1 (200g) granulated sugar

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • 3 3 star anise

  • 1 1 dried habanero chile pepper

Directions

  • Almond Crust Adapted from David Tanis’s Cranberry Curd Tart in The New York Times*.
  • Preheat the oven to 300°. Spread the almonds on a sheet pan and toast for 8 minutes, stirring once at the halfway mark. Set aside to cool.
  • Add half the rice flour to a food processor, along with all of the cooled almonds. Process until they’re very coarsely ground. Add the remaining rice flour and salt. Continue to process until the mixture resembles very coarse cornmeal.
  • In a medium sized bowl stir together the softened butter and sugar until it is well blended. Stir in the nut mixture until it is fully incorporated.
  • Press into the bottom and sides of a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, raise the oven temperature to 350°. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, until the edges are very lightly browned. Place on a rack and allow to completely cool to room temperature.
  • Orange Cream Adapted from Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Hermé*.
  • Add the sugar and citrus zests to a large metal bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar, thereby releasing the fragrant oils. Whisk in the eggs and then whisk in the citrus juices.
  • Bring a large part of water to a brisk simmer. You only want a couple of inches of water in the pot because don’t want the bottom of the metal bowl to ever touch the water. Sit the bowl containing the egg mixture on top of the pot. Whisk continuously until the temperature just reaches 180°. Remove the bowl from the pot and pour the contents into the container of a blender. Let sit for approximately 8 - 10 minutes, until it reaches 140°, stirring occasionally. I used my instant read thermometer for this and highly recommend you do the same.
  • Turn the blender to the highest setting and add the butter, 5 tablespoons at a time, scraping down the sides if necessary. Once all the butter is added, continue to blend on high for 3 minutes. This will ensure you have the lightest and airiest texture. Place the cream in a bowl and immediately cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the cream so that you get an airtight seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, as I did.
  • When ready to fill the crust, gently whisk the cream and spoon it into the crust. Refrigerate for about an hour until it is set. Top it with the slices of candied citrus fruits, a few dollops of whipped cream and the pomegranate arils. This should be served chilled. Enjoy!
  • Candied Citrus Fruits
  • In a wide pot, stir together the sugar, water, star anise and chili. Let come to a simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the slices of citrus and simmer over low heat with a lid slightly ajar. The oranges will take about and hour, the mandarins about 30 minutes and the lemons about 45 minutes. Flip them midway through. Remove each slice to a rack set over parchment paper. Let drain and cool.

Equipment

  • 10 Inch Tart Pan with a Removable Bottom
  • Blender

Notes

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