The weekend of day lights savings has always seemed like the unofficial end to winter. For what is winter? Short cool days, followed by shorter and even cooler nights. But when we spring forward, and lose that one coveted hour of sleep, the spell has been broken, and I can once again walk home from work in daylight, watching the sun go down while enjoying dinner with E., instead of gazing longingly at the street lamp wishing for warm nights that stay light until 9pm.
To celebrate the later setting sun, what could be better than using an end-of-winter seasonal fruit that mirrors the colors of a sunset? Blood oranges are one of the most beautiful pieces of fruit. You can spot a ripe blood orange but the slight reddish tint to the orange peel. Inside, there is often a kaleidoscope of colors when you slice the rinds off.
They are slightly more bitter than your typical juice orange, but with the addition of enough sugar, and removal of all the pith, their true taste comes through. The sweetened crust also helps to make this beautiful fruit the center of attention.
I seem to have a fascination of making these form type tarts- for a savory one, check out the sweet potato, zucchini, onion and mozzarella galette. But I enjoy the rustic simplicity of not worrying too much about what the dough looks like, and more about what the produce inside looks like, and letting it shine on its own. For an hour or so of baking, this recipe is definitely a winner. A flaky, sweet dough, and tart brightly colored oranges combine to make the perfect dessert on a very early spring night.
Blood Orange Crostata
Inspired from 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
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 a flat cookie sheet.
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. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the center. Bake the crostata for 55 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.