Friday, May 20, 2005

Sugar High Friday #8: "pucker up with citrus!"

orange calamansi tart

my good friend alerted me on wednesday to the SHF#8 event being hosted by the Breadbox...last day today!...and i immediately went on a search for calamansi, our native citrus fruit from the Philippines. had to have it! have to spotlight it!
i couldn't find any, not even frozen packets--only had 4 left, each with 1 tbsp. of precious juice--but i did have some more thawed frozen juice with syrup. it would have to do.

calamansi is everywhere in the Philippines, and we use them for everything that requires a citrus zing. they are green like limes but tiny, even smaller than key limes so it is laborious to squeeze for juice. the flavor is more subtle than lemon, more like lemon with a spritz of orange, but only just. it is quite unique. of course here where i am it is like gold. in fact, that's the brand of frozen packets i use: Manila Gold. i'll gladly break my piggy bank each time i see it in the grocery.
substitute lemon if you must...

the recipe for the tart is from donna hay's "Modern Classics 2" and the caramelized orange topping is from madeleine kamman's "When French Women Cook."

first prepare the crust:
into the bowl of a food processor measure 2 cups flour, 3 tbsps. sugar, and a pinch of salt. process 5 seconds to combine. drop in 5 ozs. cold butter (cut into little squares) and process until it looks like fine meal. through the feed tube add 2-3 tbsps. ice cold water and process until just until it forms a ball of dough. do not overmix. (alternatively, cut in butter with knife or pastry blender and mix in water by hand).
form doughball into a flat thick disk, and wrap in plastic/cling wrap. refrigerate 30 minutes.
preheat oven to 350F. roll out pastry, in between sheets of cling wrap, into 14-inch round and transfer into 10-in tart pan with removable bottom. line with parchment or wax paper and pie weights and bake 10 minutes. remove pie weights and paper and bake 10 minutes more or until golden brown.

make the filling as the crust cools.
over a double boiler, over medium heat, in a heat proof bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup calamansi or lemon juice and 2 tsps. finely grated orange zest until sugar is dissolved. keep whisking and add 3/4 cup light (single or pouring) cream and 3 eggs. mix continuously over simmering water, for five minutes. pour into the pie crust over a strainer.
bake for 25 minutes (350F) until set. cool completely.

optional topping:
cut 2 oranges very thinly using a sharp chef's knife. remove pith and seeds if any. in a frying pan pour water up to 1/3 inch deep and add 2 tbsps. white sugar (and optional 2 tbsps. of Grand Marnier or Cognac. allow sugar to melt over medium high heat, and add the orange slices. caramelize, watching closely so they don't scorch. let cool in butter-lined parchment or wax paper.
melt 1/2 cup orange marmalade and strain.
when cool, arrange caramelized orange slices over the tart decoratively. brush with melted marmalade.
remove the tart ring and transfer to a serving platter. use a sharp serrated knife to slice through....pucker up and enjoy...