Winter is often associated with rich comfort foods, but it’s also the season of bright citrus fruits. Navel oranges start appearing in California around mid-November with their peak season occurring in February, March, and April, when they are the sweetest and most vibrant. And they couldn’t arrive at a better time! When you’re still recovering from the heavy holiday fare, a refreshing orange is a welcome treat indeed. And here are a few tips for enjoying fresh oranges this season.
When you’re choosing an orange, look for fruits that are firm to the touch and heavy for their size. The rind shouldn’t have any white patches, shriveling or spotting, and it should emit a prominent, sweet scent.
Oranges can be stored in a fruit bowl, but their freshness will typically last only 3-4 days at room temperature. To keep oranges fresher longer, store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator where they’ll last for 1-2 weeks.
Baking with Oranges
Oranges are, of course, delicious eaten exactly as they are. But their slightly acidic taste makes them a great ingredient for lighter-tasting desserts. And these Fresh Orange & Thyme Tartlets – with their creamy curd filling and decorative candied top – are a spectacular way to celebrate the citrus season!
Fresh Orange & Thyme Tartlets
Yield: 8 tartlets (3.5 inch)
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons GF Flour Mix
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons orange or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 navel or blood orange, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup fresh orange juice, strained
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, strained
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix GF Flour Mix, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal. Add egg, orange or lemon juice, and thyme. Mix on low speed until dough holds together (it should not be sticky).
Divide dough into eight portions. Press each portion into a well-sprayed 3.5-inch tartlet pan. Prick dough all over and freeze until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, place tarts on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool on the sheet.
For Candied Oranges:
Bring water and sugar to boil in a heavy large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add orange slices to skillet, arranging in a single layer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the white pith of the orange becomes translucent, turning the slices occasionally, about 40 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and allow the orange slices to cool in the syrup.
For Curd Filling:
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, whisk together whole eggs, egg yolks, orange juice, lemon juice and sugar. Whisk constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 12 minutes.
Pour curd into a separate bowl. Add butter and orange zest, stirring until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Let stand for 10 minutes, then spoon curd into cooled tartlet shells.
Bake tartlets until the centers are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Place pans on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to fully set.
Remove tartlets from their pans and top with candied oranges.
Serving Size: 1 tartlet (without candied orange)
Total Fat: 15g
Saturated Fat: 9g
Total Carbohydrate: 28g
Dietary Fiber: 0g
*nutrition facts are estimations