Bitter Orange and Chocolate Tartlets a Dessert Worth the Effort
My dessert (below) for Kumquat Bitter Orange Tartlets in a Chocolate Crust is a crowd-pleaser. The chocolate fans will love the crust, and anyone who appreciates citrus desserts will ask for second helpings. While making the crust and the bitter orange curd is a little involved, the result is worth the effort. Of course, you can make these tarts any time of the year, but I like to make and serve them in the winter during citrus season.
Kumquat Bitter Orange Tartlets in a Chocolate Crust
- 2 cups All-purpose Flour or 00
- 3 tbsp Good-quality Cocoa Powder
- ½ cup Raw or Caster Sugar
- 8 1/2 tbsp Cold Butter cubed
- 1 large Egg beaten
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 pinch Fleur de Sel Salt
Bitter Orange Curd Ingredients:
- 2 Bitter Oranges
- 2 Sweet Oranges
- 7 ½ tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 4 large eggs well-beaten
- Kumquats sliced with pips removed, for decoration
- Pastry Instructions:
- Sift the flour and the cocoa into a large bowl, then mix in the baking powder and salt. Add the egg and butter cubes, cutting them into the dry mixture with a spatula or pastry scraper. Don’t use your hands as it’ll warm it too much. You want it to be rough, chunky crumbs.
- Bring the dough into a ball and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and let rest for an hour in the fridge.
- Dust your surface with a blend of flour and cocoa powder. Roll out the chilled dough to ¼ inch (½+ cm) thickness. Cut out circles and place them into your tartlet pans, rolling over the edges or trimming with a knife. Now prick the bases a few times with a fork and pop back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Line the insides of the tartlets with parchment paper circles and put some baking beads (or dried rice or beans) on top. Blind bake them for 15 minutes, remove the baking beads and paper, and bake for another 10 minutes. (You can leave them for 25 minutes, but I find they’re best this way.)
- Take them out of the oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Bitter Orange Curd Instructions:
- Zest one sweet and one bitter orange, then juice them all. Place the juice, zest and sugar in a saucepan, mix in the eggs and heat a bain marie, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes or until it gets thick. Take off the heat, place parchment paper over the top to prevent skin from forming, let cool slightly while you cut your kumquats, and place your pastry shells on your workplace.
- Fill each pastry case with the curd and place three (3) kumquat slices. Cool in the fridge for a few hours until properly set, then serve.
Citrus and the French Table
As both written and iconographical sources have suggested, several species of citrus were consumed, traded and maybe even cultivated in the gardens of the medieval French elite: the citron tree, the lemon tree, the lime tree, the sour orange tree, the sweet orange tree, the mandarin tree and probably the grapefruit tree. ~ OpenEdition Books
Menton’s Lemon Festival – Fête du Citron has run since 1935. It attracts roughly 240,000 visitors each year, so expect crowds. The event includes parades (day and night), a citrus garden, and fireworks. Between the static displays and parade floats, roughly 145 tons of lemons and oranges are required during the festival. Many people behind the scenes help put everything together by replacing the spoilt fruit.