The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.
It's the perfect time of year for a citrus dessert. Our weekly CSA box has been overflowing with oranges lately. Lemons are growing on trees throughout the neighborhood, so I decided to include some of those as well. For as crazy involved as the prep for this dessert is, I was surprised that my shopping list for ingredients I didn't have on hand was quite small: pectin and whipping cream.
I made the tian over the course of 2 days: day 1 involved segmenting the citrus and making orange marmalade; day 2 was a Sunday filled with the remaining steps. The original recipe calls for making individual tians using cookie cutters as the mold. This sounded pretty labor intense to me, and I wanted to end up with something I could bring to work to share, so I made one large 9x13" pan. I wanted to see how the individual ones would turn out, though, so made two individual servings using a muffin pan for my molds.
We had a slight mishap with the caramel. JR was cleaning up after dinner and I grabbed the pot from the fridge and put it on the stove. Then I got distracted by something outside of the kitchen. By the time I got back, JR had dumped and washed my caramel pot, mistaking it for dinner remnants to be cleaned up. Whoops! I'm not going to lie; the thought of all of the time it took me to squeeze enough oranges for 1 1/2 cups of orange juice brought a couple of tears to my eyes. The orange caramel would have been very tasty. In its place, I caramelized straight sugar.
I was a little nervous about the "family style" version of the dessert, specifically, how I was going to get it to work and whether it would hold up (I had visions of the whipped cream giving out and it turning into a big pile of mush). I ended up freezing the tian in the 9x13" pan for 2 days. The night before traveling with it, I dislodged it from the pan and cut it into bit-sized pieces, which I placed in individual muffin papers. I then put the bit-sized, papered pieces back into the pan in 2 layers and put it all back in the freezer. The frozen tian travelled beautifully. It defrosted in the fridge during the day, then I served it sprinkled with mint in the afternoon. It was gobbled up quickly, which I take to be a good sign!
Ready for the longest recipe ever? Here goes:
1/4 c. + 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice*
1 large orange
1 heaping tsp. pectin
agave nectar or sugar
*The original recipe uses weights rather than volume, which is why the amounts of some of the ingredients seem a little strange.
Finely slice orange (including rind). Place in a medium pot filled with cold water. Simmer 10 minutes. Discard water, refill with cold water, and blanch another 10 minutes. Repeat this process for a total of 3x (this removes the bitterness from the orange peel). Once cool, finely mince in food processor.
Measure orange (on a scale or with measuring cups): this is the amount of sweetener you will use. The original recipe calls for granulated sugar, but I substituted a combination of agave nectar and washed raw sugar (I would have used entirely agave nectar, but I ran out!).
In a pot over medium heat, add minced orange, sugar, orange juice, and pectin. Cook until jammy, 10-15 minutes. Refrigerate.
6 large oranges
Cut oranges into a shallow bowl, making sure to keep the juice. Add segments to bowl with juice. I learned how to correctly segment an orange by watching this YouTube video.
2 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
6 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. + 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, ice cold and cubed
1/3 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Place flour, baking powder, butter, and salt in food processor with a steel blade. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar. Beat with whisk. Pour egg mixture into food processor (my food processor isn't that big, so at this point I transferred everything to the KitchenAid). Process until dough just comes together. If too crumbly, add a couple drops of water and process again. Form into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface 1/4" thick. At this point, the original recipe calls for cutting the dough with cookie cutters that will ultimately be used to create the mini-desserts in. Instead of this, I made one large 9x13" rectangular dessert. I had a little dough left over, so also made 2 personal versions in muffin pans. That means for the dough, I had one big rectangle, and two small circles.
Bake 20 minutes, or until dough starts to turn golden.
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. orange juice
Place sugar in pan on medium heat and begin heating it. Once it starts to bubble and foam, add orange juice. As soon as mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and pour half of mixture over orange segments.
Reserve other half in a small bowl (you'll use it later to spoon over finished dessert). When dessert is assembled and in freezer, heat kept caramel sauce in small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). Spoon over citrus tians.
3 Tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. agar flakes
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp. orange marmalade
In a small bowl, combine agar and hot water. Stir until agar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature while you make whipped cream.
Add cream to chilled mixing bowl. Whip with hand mixer on low until it begins to thicken (about 1 minute). Add sugar. Increase speed to medium-high. Whip until beaters leave visible but not lasting trails in cream. Add cooled agar slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until light and fluffy and soft peaks form. Fold in orange marmalade.
Drain citrus segments on paper towels. Have marmalade, whipped cream, and dough ready to use. Arrange citrus segments in bottom of pan. Make sure all touch and there are no gaps. Add whipped cream by the spoonful and gently spread in an even layer to cover orange slices. Spread even layer of marmalade on dough. Place dough onto dessert. Gently press to make sure dessert is compact. Place in freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Use a small knife to go around the edge of the pan to make the dessert easy to unmold. Place cutting board over pan and gently flip to unmold. Cut into small squares. Add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve!
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