Chef Burnell ShivelyDessertPies & TartsProvencal RecipesTaste

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 and Chocolate Tartlets in a Chocolate Crust

Kumquat Bitter Orange Tartlets in a Chocolate Crust

Chef Burnell
A combination of sweet, sour and chocolate that is irresistible in a dessert. I prefer making tartlets to one larger tart. Regardless, this dessert is a great way to finish a meal. As a bonus, you can keep the bitter orange curd in a jar in the fridge for up to a month.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 4 Tartlets


Pastry Ingredients:

  • 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.
Keyword Chocolate, Kumquat, Orange, Tartlet
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Citrus and the French Table

Since medieval times (or before), citrus has been part of French cuisine, decoration, and noble gardens.

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.

Recipes with Citrus

Shaved Fennel and Orange Salad
This shaved fennel and citrus salad is the perfect way to begin the slowdown. The salad feels luxurious and rich with feta and olives, punctuated by bright bits of satsumas, blood oranges, and even grapefruit.
Check out this recipe
Salad Shaved Fennel Citrus
Orange, Fennel, Olive and Caper Salad
This easy salad brings zing and brightness to the table. The salt of the olives and capers balances the sweetness of the orange. This should really be made no earlier than 30 minutes before eating. If you want to get ahead, you can segment the orange earlier in the day and leave it sitting in the lemon juice.
Check out this recipe
Citrus Salad Orange Fennel Olive Mirabeau_Wine
Lemon Tart - Tarte aux Citron - La Tarta al Limoun
A delicious lemon tart that can be baked as one large tart or served in smaller tartlets to share, Enjoy! 
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Tarte aux Citron Recipe From NIce Cuisine Nissarde
Classic and Amazing Lemon Tart
A tasteful tart made with fresh lemon that is perfect for sharing!
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Lemon Tart French Classic
Olive Oil and Lemon Cake
A simple and delicious cake to share with friends and family!
Check out this recipe
A Olive Oil Lemon Cake Recipe Olive Oil and Lemon Cake
Madeleines with Orange Blossom Water
If you're looking for a picnic-worthy treat to enjoy in the sunshine (or indoors for a bright flavour reminiscent of springtime), then look no further! These madeleines have gentle citrus notes from the orange blossom water.
Check out this recipe
Madeleines Made Orange Blossom Water Madeleines à la fleur d'oranger

Please share this with friends and family.

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Chef Burnell

An American raised in Surrey, England, Burnell has always had a huge appetite for life. She began her career as a textile designer in Como, Italy. She continued freelance in forty-three countries and five continents to lend her hand to many creative pursuits as a stylist, exhibiting fine artist, illustrator and lecturer.

She founded Littlebrook Cultural Management Inc. and ran the international art school ARTVENETO in Feltre, Italy, accredited by the University of Denver at Colorado. She made the sister-city-ship between Feltre in Veneto and Golden in Colorado. Twice, as the British representative, she painted at POOART for Peace in Slovenia, a program supported by the Slovenian government and UNESCO.

This passion for culture got significantly more scientific when she launched a natural fermentation remedy to America's wine, beer and cheese industries as Director of Marketing & Communications for a multi-national BioPharma company. When her children launched from the nest, she continued independently to research and develop the palette, both at her easel and in various VIP kitchens, furthering her understanding of health and food by getting certified as a Nutritional therapist.

In 2016, she came to Provence to register CHEF BURNELL at Le Lavandou in the Var. Since then, she’s been certified in Knowledge & Promotion of the Wines of Provence, was a delegate from the Var at Slow Food Terra Madre and has been a private chef for a great many wonderful clients, whether for business events or family meals in famous Châteaux and royal palaces, for dignitaries, celebrities and dedicated foodies alike. She also continues cooking up some oil painting commissions for private clients in France and the USA.

All the while, she diligently scouts out the most delicious and nutritious ingredients grown in the Var garden of Provence. You’re invited to join her on a wonderful feast of the senses through food, wine and painting workshops. Discover more about this talented chef on her website Chef Burnell.

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