Once a source of immense wealth for the city, oranges are a symbol of Valencia. They feature in this citrus-intensive, not-too-sweet tart, which is just the ticket after a filling meal. Since the orange slices decorating the tart are not peeled, be sure to use thin-skinned, juicy California oranges; thick-skinned oranges will not work. Blood oranges, or a combination of orange and lemon slices, make a nice variation. For an extra jolt of citrus, serve the tart with a refreshing store-bought citrus sorbet.—Anya von Bremzen
For the pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 medium-size pinch of salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons chilled heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon ice water, if needed
For the tart
4 medium-size thin-skinned California oranges, scrubbed well
2 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar, plus more for caramelizing the tart
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons orange flower water (optional)
About 1 cup best-quality orange marmalade
Prebaked tart pastry
Make the pastry
1. Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, just to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl and, using two forks, stir in the egg yolk mixture until it is evenly distributed. Pinch a piece of dough between your fingers. If it doesn’t hold together, stir in the ice water. Gather the dough into a ball. Lightly flour a work surface, then flatten the ball into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (The pastry can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)
3. Place the disk of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper and roll it out to an 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, press it into the side of the pan, and trim the overhang. Freeze, covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes.
4. While the pastry is chilling, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
5. Without removing the aluminum foil, fill the tart pan with pie weights or dried beans, then bake it for 25 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil and continue baking until the pastry is light golden and baked through, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack before filling.
Make the tart
1. Cut off and discard a thick slice from each end of the oranges. Using a sharp knife, cut the oranges into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place the orange juice, sugar, grated orange zest, and orange flower water, if using, in a wide pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange slices; if they are not submerged in liquid, add a little water. Reduce the heat to low and let the oranges simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Let the orange slices cool in the cooking liquid, then drain them and gently pat them dry with paper towels. Cut the orange slices in half.
2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
3. To assemble the tart, spread the marmalade evenly in the bottom of the tart shell and arrange the halved orange slices on top in concentric circles, overlapping slightly. Bake it on the center rack until the oranges are very soft and lightly browned, 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the broiler. When the tart is just cool enough to handle, wrap aluminum foil around the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t burn when the tart is caramelized. Sprinkle sugar in a thin, even layer over the tart and broil until the sugar is caramelized, 4 to 7 minutes, depending on the heat of the broiler, being very careful not to let the tart burn (you can also use a kitchenware blowtorch to caramelize the tart). Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving.
Recipe © 2005 by Anya von Bremzen. All rights reserved.