My dear friend, Valentina, and I met on the very first day of law school and before our first class of contract law was done we were chatting about our common love for food, good food. And we haven’t stopped since. During the years we’ve explored everything from fine dining to casual Sunday cake, and this Sunday I invited her over to catch up and taste this Blood Orange Meringue Tart. She is one of those friends whose opinions I value and, luckily, she loved it!
This tart is inspired by one of my favorite tarts, the French tart au citron, but as it’s blood orange season I wanted to substitute the lemons with the beautiful blood oranges I got at the market earlier this week, and it turned out really amazing.
The blood oranges are zested, juiced, and cooked into a pungent blood orange curd, and the meringue is whipped into glossy clouds. I always go for the Italian meringue, as it behaves and really lasts. It’s made by whipping egg whites into soft peaks into which you pour a simple syrup cooked to the soft ball stage while you continue to whip until white and glossy. It takes a little more effort, but it’s worth it as your meringue stays glossy and won’t weep.
Blood Orange Meringue Tart
(Makes a 24 cm/10 inch tart)
250 grams AP flour
125 grams unsalted butter
50 grams cane sugar
100 grams ice cold water
A pinch of sea salt
4 organic blood oranges
240 grams cane sugar
4 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
100 grams unsalted butter
4 egg whites
200 grams cane sugar
100 ml water
- Start by making the crust; Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a big bowl. Add the butter (cut into small cubes), rubbing it with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the water, mix until just incorporated, and gather the dough mixture into a ball. Cover the dough ball with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 3o minutes.
- Butter your baking tin and tip the dough onto a flour-covered table and roll it out to a 5 mm thick crust. Transfer the dough to the baking tin and trim any excess edges. Pierce the dough evenly with a fork and let it rest for 3o minutes in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C and blind bake the dough for 25 minutes until golden brown. Once done, place the crust on a cooling rack and lower the oven temperature to 150 C.
- Make the filling while the crust is in the oven; Zest and juice the blood oranges. You’ll need 200 ml of juice. Add the zest, juice, cane sugar, eggs, and egg yolks to a pan and whist until combined. Turn the heat on the stove to medium-low and continue to whisk over the heat until the curd starts to thicken. Add in the unsalted butter and whisk until combined and the curd’s thickness resembles creme anglaise. Pour the curd into the blind baked crust.
- Bake the tart for 15-17 minutes until the curd has just set.
- Leave the tart to cool while you make the meringue;
- Whip egg whites into soft peaks. Make a simple syrup by placing the cane sugar and water in a small pan, and cook until a sugar thermometer reaches 115 C (soft ball stage). While whipping, pour the syrup into the egg whites and continue to whip until glossy.
- Pour the meringue onto the cooled tart and use the back of a teaspoon to distribute the meringue evenly and form soft peaks.
- Use a torch to burn the meringue.