Candied Cara Cara Curd Meringue Tarts are mini bites of sweet, tangy, creamy sunshine topped with clouds of vanilla bean meringue and candied oranges.
Happy New Year my fellow sweet fiends!!! Are you ready to attack that long list of resolutions like the boss you are? Me… I am just going to continue enjoying life and all it has to offer one moment at a time – these Candied Cara Cara Curd Meringue Tarts included!
I am not going to lie, the last couple years were tough AF, so I find this ‘new year/fresh start’ business a little exciting. I am already making mental notes of all the places to visit and new things to learn and try. I also want to reignite some of my old passions – dancing and sewing (I used to design and sew my wardrobe as a teenager and through my uni years).
I am also working on knocking down some of those walls I built up to protect myself over the years and looking forward to repairing some relationships that I’ve let fizzle. It’s going to be an interesting year, to say the least…
But first, let’s get through winter. I think ya’ll already know how much I dislike the season, and that’s putting it mildly. The dark start and end to my days. Any number below zero and the layers and layers of attire it requires (although I do get some pleasure from slipping on my silk long johns – oh, the luxury). The snow – ok, not so much the snow, I think it is beautiful as it is falling and immediately after. All that changes when it starts to get slushy, dirty and melts to reveal all the trash those uncivilized idiots among us leave behind. I just can’t deal!
Some things I do love about winter are my awkwardly, exhilarating downhill skiing attempts, sunny, albeit frigid, winter days that are made even brighter by the presence of the snow and most importantly, winter citrus!
Cara Cara Orange, Minneola Tangelo, Meyer Lemon, Pomelo, Blood Orange, to name a few, make the long winter haul a touch more bearable. I like to tear them open with my hands and devour a few in one sitting, but sometimes I hold off instant gratification and neatly cut them into salad, press them into a fresh glass of juice, or stare at them with just enough
lust love in my eyes to make even an inanimate object uncomfortable. TMI?? LOL
Oh, they are also great in curds!
Upon first meeting, the Cara Cara exhibits the appearance of good old orange. However, the flesh is much prettier and the flavour sweeter/less tart than your standard orange. Plus, they are seedless! They are the perfect candidate for cocktails, vinaigrettes, or even the unexpected – like these Candied Cara Cara Curd Meringue Tarts. The only downside is that gorgeous colour isn’t captured in the recipes. 🙁
I found a great recipe for cara cara orange curd over on theKitchn. Great, because the orange juice is reduced to allow the flavours to intensify and shine. The only way to make it better, in my opinion, was to add some Rodelle vanilla beans. I also played around with folding in some ground up candied orange, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the results this time around.
I refrigerated the curd overnight. I always find curd tastes better the next day. Is that just me? I filled my little pastry shells, piped a pretty pillow of vanilla bean meringue, torched it and topped with candied cara cara wedges. Voila!
These Caramelized Cara Cara Curd Meringue Tarts would make a delightfully, sweet addition to your New Year’s brunch celebration, or any weekend brunch for that matter! Don’t be intimated by the length of the recipe. Each component takes very little to prepare and the pastry and curd can be made ahead of time. I normally make quite a bit of tart shells and freeze them for future use.
I hope that all you dreams and plans come to fruition in 2017. I am off for a much needed break, but look forward to our continued sweet affair when I return.
- 1 cara cara orange
- 355 grams (11/2 cups) water
- 192 grams (1 cup) granulated sugar
- 59 grams (1/4 cup) orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier
- 118 grams (1/2 cup) cara cara orange juice
- zest from one orange
- 15 grams (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 2 large yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
- 48 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 57 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- ½ vanilla bean, scraped
- pinch of salt
- 150 grams (2/3 cups) liquid egg whites
- 250 grams (1 cup) grams sugar
- 3 grams ½ teaspoon Rodelle vanilla bean paste
- Use this (or your favourite) recipe. Instead of the tart rings, use a scalloped cookie cutter to shape the pastry and fit into the wells of the lightly greased tart pan using a pastry tamper, or your fingers.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top. Set aside.
- Give the orange a good wash and remove the ends. Use a sharp knife to slice the orange into ¼-inch slices.
- In a large, shallow saucepan, heat the water and sugar on medium-high to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring to a gentle boil without stirring, add the orange slices and cook for 20 minutes.
- Lower the heat, add the liqueur, flip the slices and continue cooking on medium-low heat for an additional 20-30 minutes.
- The orange slices are ready when the syrup thickens and the peels appear translucent/glassy.
- Transfer the slices to the wire rack to cool.
- Add the orange juice to a small saucepan and bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, until reduced to ¼ cup. Pour into a measuring cup to check that it has been reduced enough, if not return to pot and heat some more. This took me just over 5 minutes (original recipe indicated 2-4 minutes).
- Pour the juice in a measuring cup and combine with the zest and lemon juice. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks and sugar. Pour the juice mixture into the egg mixture in a steady stream, while whisking. By adding the warm liquid slowly to the eggs, you are tempering the eggs to avoid ending up with scrambled eggs.
- Place a sieve over a clean bowl and set on the counter close to the stove. You will need this for the curd as soon as it reaches the desired temperature.
- Pour the juice and egg mixture back into the saucepan and set it over medium heat. Gently stir the mixture constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, or reaches 180ºF.
- Remove from heat and pour through the sieve into the prepared bowl. This removes any chunky bits of eggs and zest. If you want the finished curd to have the zest, add fresh zest to the strained curd.
- While still warm, stir in the butter, salt, vanilla beans and candied orange (optional)
- Allow to cool, then transfer to an airtight jar. The curd will keep in the refrigerator for about a week (but I guarantee you it will not stick around for that long)
- Fill a heavy duty pot about a quarter of the way with water and place on the stove over medium heat to simmer.
- Add egg whites and sugar to your stand mixer's bowl and place on top of the pot, ensuring the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water in the pot.
- Whisk the sugar and egg white mixture constantly, but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F.
- Once at the correct temperature, remove from heat, wipe away the water from the underside of the bowl and transfer to your stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, begin to whip the meringue until it is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch.
Don't discard the remaining syrup. You can refrigerate for a few days and use it to soak cake, add to a cocktail, or vinaigrette.
When making meringue, always use grease-free utensils and bowls to achieve a fluffy, stable meringue.