For the Weekend Cookbook Challenge, I searched for something to make that is orange. And I found this recipe for Creamsicle Tart. I’m not generally a baker, but I think my Macaroni and Cheese cookbook is just too well-used to qualify for the Cookbook Challenge.
Here’s what it’s supposed to look like (food-styled photograph from the cookbook):

The recipes appears in not one but two of my generally unused cookbooks. The recipe appeared in

Double Dishing and Cooks in my Kitchen. I got both books from my job at the publishing house, and both are full of fussy, chef-fy recipes that were always billed as “simple.” Right.

Day 1: Make Creme Fraiche.
It’s nearly impossible to find in the usual milieu of grocery stores I frequent, so I made it in accordance with the recipe in the book. 1 cup is needed for the Creamsicle Tart.

From Double Dishing: “Combine 2 parts whipping cream with 1 part sour cream [thats 2/3’s of a cup to 1/3 of a cup here]. Whisk well to smooth out the lumps, cover loosely and leave at room temperature overnight. [The next morning] cover and refrigerate to thicken further.”
Easy enough. Forget everything you know about leaving out dairy products. This really worked.


Day 2: Make pastry and Creme Fraiche Ganache.

Pastry

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup and 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (but I had margarine in blocks so I used that)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
pinch salt

Cream the sugar and butter together in the mixer using the flat paddle, not a whisk-thing. Use medium speed – not too fast. When it looks all yellowy and fluffy and is thoroughly blended, add the egg and vanilla extract. Whir it for a minute or so until nicely blended again. Turn the mixer down to a slooow speed and very gradually add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed only until the dough begins to hold together.
Grab the dough and shape into a flattened ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
[Make dinner? Go for a walk? Watch Jeopardy?]
Take the dough out and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes beofre rolling it out.
Divide the dough ball in half, and freeze for later use. Why make double the dough? I don’t know; I’m not a baker. Not knowing the reason for doublin’ my dough, I figure it’s better just to do it and save myself this step the next time I make a pie.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
The recipe told me to roll out the dough on a floured surface. I did this and then couldn’t get it off the counter and into my pan. So, I took the bottom out of my springform pan which I used and rolled the dough out right on top of that. It took a little maneuvering, but I eventually rolled out the dough enough to cover the disk and then some. I used an 11-inch springform pan; a little extra circumfrence should be given for the sides. The other thing is that we’re working with pastry dough here, so it tends to split easily. No worries; I just mend up the cracks with my fingers and keep going.
Very carefully, I lowered the disk with my pastry dough back into the springform pan, secured the side and then used my fingers to push the dough up against the sides. The recipe calls for the use of a “tart pan” with a removable bottom, but I figure that it’s okay to improvise a little.
Put the pastry into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it’s all pretty and golden. I suppose if I burn it, there’s a spare. Cool down the pastry in the pan while making the ganache.

Creme Fraiche Ganache
12 oz white chocolate
1 cup creme fraiche

Pretty easy. Combine the creme fraiche with the chocolate. I snapped apart the the three Lindt chocolate bars into squares; if you’ve got fancy-ass baking chocolate from Whole Foods, chop it up.
In a big microwave-safe bowl, heat the mixture on medium. The cookbook recommends using three minute intervals and stirring every three minutes until melted. My chocolate took about 4 1/2 minutes to melt. Zoom!
Pour the ganache carefully into (or in my case, onto) the pastry shell. Put into the refrigerator at least three hours.
I started at 5 pm when I got home, and got to this stage at 7:30. Think the tart will have to be finished the next day.

Day 3: Make Blood Orange Topping and Glaze
I put my dinner into the oven and then got to work on this part of the recipe. The home stretch, all orange-y-ness.

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
3 blood oranges, or navel oranges

Dissolve sugar into the water over medium heat, stirring.
While the water is heating up, slice the oranges. Leave the peel on and cut into thin slices (1/8 of an inch or less).
Put the orange slices into the water, turn up the heat, and bring the mixture to almost a boil. When it starts bubbling, cover the pan and turn down the heat. Simmer on low for between 30-45 minutes. They are ready when the pith between the juicy part and the peel part turns almost clear. Translucent. My oranges took 40 minutes.
Take the pastry/ganache creation out of the fridge and bring to room temperature.
Eat dinner.

When oranges look ready, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon, or pour them out into a strainer. Be sure to reserve the liquid, either way.
Let the oranges cool just enough to handle them. While waiting, turn up the heat under the reserved cooking liquid and reduce it to a nice syrupy texture. This will probably take a few minutes to achieve.
To finish the tart, begin to arrange the orange slices over the ganache layer. Start on the outside of the circle and overlap the orange slices as you go. When you get to middle, pile a few on top for vertical interest. Last, use a pastry brush to glaze the orange slices with the syrup.
MMMM. Go style the food and wash your hands:

And Finally: The Verdict
Me: It took three evenings and several hours. Was it worth it? The pastry and ganache were utterly delicious; I am not sold on the taste of the blood oranges in this. Too sweet. Something more tart might have complemented the sweet white chocolate ganache. Maybe try this with navel oranges or sweet little canned mandarins?
It does sort of taste like a creamsicle, although if I want creamsicles, I know where to buy them.
The husband: It was awesome. Surprisingly sweet and delicious. Hard to cut into, but the crust is the best part.

And… I’m… spent.

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