We have citrus coming out the ears in California right now. I have a giant platter of everything from navel oranges to mandriquats (yes mandriquats!) on my kitchen table at the moment. In the cold gloomy months of winter the vivid colors and bright sharp flavors of citrus bring much needed sunshine to the senses. The bounty and sheer number of varietals is all at once inspiring and overwhelming. Inspiring as to the many beautiful ways to create yummy things, and overwhelming in finding the time to make it all (and eat it) before the season ends!
In this galette the fruit is sliced whole leaving the pith and rind, then sprinkled with plenty of sugar which after baking, partially candies the peel. It can easily be made without the peel but I think the peel adds to the flavor and gives a nice toothsome texture to the final product. You can also easily replace with other kinds of oranges or mix them if you like. Kumquats and Cara Cara oranges would be excellent additions. If substituting remember to taste your fruit for flavor, does it need more or less sugar? Does it need more acid?
Organic fruit is a must when eating the pith as conventional fruit is often sprayed with pesticides which linger and can be absorbed through the skin. Though you should still scrub your citrus well before using in either case.
The bottom of the crust is sprinkled with a mixture of sugar, nuts and flour that have been pulsed in a food processor. This helps absorb any liquid and keeps the crust nice and flaky. I prefer pistachios here as they pair very well with the blood oranges, but you can use any nut you like, or omit completely. If you don't have a baking stone (I highly recommend it if you enjoy these types of tarts) an inverted sheet pan slightly larger than the size of your tart preheated in the oven works well as a replacement. A sheet pan on the bottom of the oven to catch any stray juices or butter will help prevent burning should it happen.
Yields one 12 inch galette
For the pate brisee crust (makes enough for 2 open face tarts)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (6oz)
- 1/2 cup of ice water
I often double or even triple this recipe and keep the extra dough in my freezer, especially during summertime when stone fruit overwhelms the farmers markets and my mother's backyard. This can easily be done in a food processor but I love making it by hand, and I find you get a better sense of how the dough should look and feel this way especially if making dough is new to you.
Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes. Add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Whisk the sugar into the flour in a large bowl. Place everything in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl of flower and sugar and the butter. Add the butter to the flower mixture and using a pastry blender, two butter knives or your hands cut the butter into the flour until it resembles a course meal with irregular pea sized bits of butter through out. You must work even quicker if using your hands as the heat from your hands will begin to melt the butter. The trick to this crust is make it cold and bake it hot!
Remove the water and salt mixture from the freezer. It should be ice cold, but there should be no ice in the water as you add it. Using a fork, stir the flour and butter as you add the water little by little. Depending on how dry or humid it is you may need more or less water to make the dough fully come together. Keep stirring until you have a ropy shaggy mass. To test, pick up a handful of dough and press it together in your hand. If it holds its shape and does not crumble or seem too dry it is ready.
Separate the dough into two equal piles. Put one part of the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and using the plastic wrap, press the dough together into the center of the wrap until you have a cohesive product, form it into a disc and wrap tightly. You should see streaks of butter throughout the dough. Repeat with the second pile of dough then place in the refrigerator to rest overnight. If only using one round of dough, the second can be sealed in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just defrost overnight in the fridge when you're ready to use it. You can use the dough the same day its made with a short 2 hour rest but a rest overnight gives you a more pliable supple dough and a flakier end product.
To roll out, dust your surface with flour and your rolling pin. Remove the dough from the fridge and if it is too hard let it sit out for a few minutes. Press the edges to diminish any cracks. Lightly dust the disk of dough with flour. Starting from the center of your disc of dough, roll away from you turning the dough a quarter of a turn after every roll. Roll the dough until you have about a 14 inch circle. Using your rolling pin pick up one end of the dough and drape over your pin. Then gently roll the rest of the dough onto it, careful not to press it together. Unroll the dough onto parchment lined baking sheet or cooling rack. Cover with another piece of parchment and place in the freezer until ready to fill.
For the filling:
- 3 lbs of blood oranges about 4-5 oranges
- 4 tablespoons of butter melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of flour
- 2 tablespoons of lightly toasted Pistachios or other nut of your choice (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Using a very sharp knife, or a mandolin, slice the oranges into 1/4 inch thick pinwheels, removing any seeds from them after slicing.
In a food processor combine 1 tablespoon of sugar, the flour and pistachios and pulse until you have a course uniform meal.
Remove your rolled pastry circle from the freezer. Dust the bottom of the tart with all of the pistachio mixture leaving a 2 inch border. Arrange the orange slices on top of the pistachio mixture.
If the dough is too soft at this point return it to the freezer to chill briefly until it has become pliable but not too hard. You can now either turn the dough over the edge of the fruit, creating pleats or create the classic french rope-like border. To create the rope border, pull the dough from one end right to the edge of the fruit. Now, using your right thumb, press firmly into the dough at a 45 degree angle while pulling part of the dough over your thumb with your left hand. You should have a little pocket where your thumb was. Now repeat this around the entire tart, working quickly.
Brush the edge of the crust with about half of the melted butter. Then sprinkle the edge with a couple tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the fruit then sprinkle the rest of the butter over the top. Transfer the tart to the freezer until the dough is firm again.
Slide the tart with the parchment onto the preheated baking stone. Do not open the oven until at least the 20 minute mark. After 20 minutes rotate the tart. The tart is done when the edges are golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Check to make sure the bottom of the tart is fully cooked before removing. Let cool completely on a cooling rack, parchment removed. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.