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Happy 2019! Hope you all made it through the holidays with a smile and belly full of cookies. My 2019 has been off to a slow start as you can see; I mean it's already mid-January and I'm just posting my first recipe of the year. But it's a goodun. I'm eating All. The. Citrus. these days and I'm not mad about it. I look forward to citrus and specifically blood orange season all year and was so happy to see them pop up them grocery store this month. Why yes, that was me doing a happy dance in the produce section last week. I probably should have stuck to a simple blood orange salad or scone recipe but no, I had to try making a) vegan crepes for the first time and then b) try to turn said crepes into a mille crepe cake layered with blood orange custard. Let's just say it didn't end well (*there may have been a few tears). The crepes were actually very good so I'll be sharing the recipe for them soon, but they just didn't want to get into cake formation, so I might have had a Beyoncé - Hold Up moment on them. All is good though. The blood orange custard was amazing so I turned them lemons into lemonade and made delicious vegan Blood Orange Custard Tarts instead.
My go-to flaky vegan pastry crusty is filled with a luscious creamy blood orange custard then topped with candies blood orange slices and topped with a blood orange gelee. Sounds fancy af but its pretty easy. Gelee is a fancy word for gel aka jello. The only *maybe unfamiliar ingredient is agar agar, which is a sea vegetable that acts as a gelling agent similar to gelatin. I also use a little bit in the custard along with cornstarch (organic non-GMO please) to help it set in the way that egg yolks traditionally would. You can find agar agar powder or flakes at most natural food stores or specialty grocers or order it from my amazon shop here:
It's a good thing to have on hand in your pantry if your making vegan recipes. I use it most often to thicken jams in place of pectin. A general rule of thumb for making fruit gels with agar agar is 1 teaspoon of agar agar powder to 1 cup of liquid. If using flakes up the amount to 1 tablespoon agar agar flakes to 1 cup liquid.
After making the candied blood orange slices I was left with this gorgeous blood orange syrup which I then realized I could easily turn into a gel to top the tarts. I love how the syrup didn't go to waste here. I candied 2 blood oranges and had lots of extra slices because I only used one slice per tart, but they can keep for other uses and are great as sweet treats on their own. If you don't want extra slices, just candy what you need, but note that the syrup might not be a strong flavored.
My two taste testers really liked these tarts. I could eat that blood orange custard all day. I kinda want to make batch just to eat like pudding with some whipped coconut cream... oh yes, that's definitely going to happen. Let me know what you're making with citrus these days or anything you'd like to see here next in the comments. Always love hearing from you guys. And I know it's a bit late, but Happy New Year!
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Vegan Flaky Pastry Crust
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup 8 tablespoons vegan butter alternative (such as Earth Balance buttery sticks)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ice water
- Add flour and salt to a medium mixing bowl and stir with a fork.
- Cut in vegan butter and olive oil using clean fingertips or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with some pea-sized pieces.
- Add ice water (without ice) one tablespoon at a time and stir with a fork or clean hands after each addition until the dough holds together in your hands. Note: The amount of water will vary each time depending on the humidity of the day and other environmental factors, but it will be most likely somewhere around 4-6 tablespoons.
- Shape dough into a disc or rectangle depending on the final shape you want to achieve.
- At this point you can wrap and refrigerate the dough until ready to use, or freeze for up to 6 months. Note: refrigeration is not necessary before rolling and baking dough.
- Roll dough out to a ¼" thickness using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Dust with more flour and flip/turn dough as needed while rolling it out.
- Bake as directed for the recipe you are making.
Blood Orange Custard Tart
- Blood Orange Custard Filling1 ¼ cups unsweetened soy milk
- ¼ cup blood orange juice
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon blood orange zest
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup organic granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon agar agar powder
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water optional
- Candied Blood Oranges and Blood Orange Gelee1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 teaspoon agar agar powder
- Prepare Custard FillingWhisk everything together in a saucepan first to avoid lumps.
- Cook on medium heat while whisking continually until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken then lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook, still whisking, for about another 5 minutes. The custard will be slightly thickened but still very runny.
- Strain custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and place plastic wrap right on top of custard to prevent a film from forming. Chill for 2 hours to let custard set up.
- Blind Bake Tart Shell(s)Preheat oven to 350˚F. Press rolled pastry dough into one standard 9.5” tart pan, three 5.5” tart pans (size shown in photos) or six mini tart pans and trim edges. Prick tart shell bottom with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper on tart shell and add pie weights or dried beans.
- Blind bake tart shell(s) for 20 minutes then remove pie weights and parchment. Return tart shell(s) to oven a finish baking until golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Note: Reduce baking times if using mini tart pans.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly then remove tart shells from pans and cool completely.
- Make Candied Blood Oranges and Blood Orange GeleeThinly slice blood oranges.
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan then add blood orange slices. Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and cook until oranges are softened and liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 30 minutes.
- Remove blood orange slices and let them cool on a rack set over a sheet pan.
- Strain cooking liquid into a liquid measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup of blood orange syrup.
- Add 1 cup of syrup back into saucepan and whisk in 1 teaspoon of agar agar powder. Bring to a boil, whisking continually, and cook for 5 minutes to activate agar agar.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Assemble Tart(s)Spoon blood orange custard into cooled tart shell(s) and smooth layer with back of spoon.
- Arrange candied blood orange slices on top of custard layer. (You can add as many or little as you like. Leftover candied orange slices can be stored in fridge or dried out completely and stored and room temp in a airtight container).
- Place tart(s) in freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up custard.
- Remove from freezer and pour slightly cooled/medium set blood orange gelee over tart filling. If the gelee has set up too much to pour, return saucepan to medium heat and loosen it back up. Note: You don’t want it too liquefied nor do you want it too firm. Make the gelee right before you place the tart(s) in the freezer. It will to cool while the tart(s) firm up in freezer. The blood orange gelee should be medium-set when you take the tart(s) out of freezer.
- Refrigerate tart(s) to set glee layer and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Served chilled. Leftover tart will keep for 1 week, covered and refrigerated.