Have ever eaten a Sour Punk or the sour worms you get in candy stores? No, then you have no idea what I am talking about when I say the word tang. The gummy worms are so sour that your teeth will go numb. This tart could have been that but it isn't - infact it's the tartiest tart you'd have ever tasted.
But here's what brilliant about this tart - the sweet pastry crust and the candied peels contrast so beautifully with the Kumquat cream that you're instantly transported to another place. What's a kumquat you ask? It's also known as a chinese orange and is tart as tart can be with a beautiful supple skin that just peels off and is super bitter too. I got a bagful of the good stuff the other day from Deeba who was also gave me some of her lovely Kumquat marmalade. And ever since I saw those mini oranges, I have been dying to make something.
A couple of years ago when I first got Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours, one of the first recipe's I had ever tried was of the Fresh Lemon Cream tart. I thought that the kumquats would work wonderfully in that recipe.The lemon cream has the same ingredients as a lemon curd - lemon, sugar, eggs and butter but the the way it's treated - heated and then blended like mayo with butter to make an emulsion is what makes all the difference.
Because the result is a brilliant tangy melt in the mouth cream that you just can't stop licking the whisk or the spatula or the spoon. I made minor substitutions for the kumquat and made only half the recipe. And don't worry about the candy thermometer, I didn't have one, I just relied on my instinct and it came out fine. I also used a little bit of Deeba's marmalade in the base to make it more-orangey. And then candied some the kumquats just to add another element to it.
The candying took the least amount of time. But here's what I suggest - make the tart dough and freeze and then go about making the Kumquat cream. It'll save you time and it will be in your hands when you'd like to assemble the tart. Also I know that the recipe seems really long, but bear with me, because it will be worth every single minute of the extra time you've spent reading it.
This short crust pastry is my favourite and I totally totally love it. And it really doesn't shrink much, which I think is the best part. Also whether its lemon, tangerine, orange, grapefruit or kumquat, this cream is worth every bite.
Kumquat Cream Tart with candied peels
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. Available in India, US and UK
For the kumquat cream
½ cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 kumquats
2 large eggs
1/3 cup freshly squeezed kumquat juice
150 grams butter
Getting ready: Have a thermometer, preferably an instant-read, a strainer and a blender (first choice) or food processor at the ready. Bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
1. Put the sugar and zest in a large metal bowl that can be fitted into the pan of simmering water. Off heat, work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Whisk in the eggs followed by the kumquat juice.
2. Fit the bowl into the pan (make certain the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and cook, stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. You want to cook the cream until it reaches 180°F. As you whisk the cream over heat—and you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you’ll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as the cream is getting closer to 180°F, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. Heads up at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. Don’t stop whisking and don’t stop checking the temperature. And have patience—depending on how much heat you’re giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 minutes.
3.As soon as you reach 180°F, pull the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of a blender (or food processor); discard the zest. Let the cream rest at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 140°F, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add about 5 pieces of butter at a time. Scrape down the sides of the container as needed while you’re incorporating the butter. Once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to beat the cream for another 3 minutes. If your machine protests and gets a bit too hot, work in 1-minute intervals, giving the machine a little rest between beats.
5. Pour the cream into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal and chill the cream for at least 4 hours or overnight. When you are ready to construct the tart, just whisk the cream to loosen it and spoon it into the tart shell.
Storing: While you can make the lemon cream ahead (it will keep in the frige for 4 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months), once the tart is constructed, it’s best to eat it the day it is made
For the sweet crust pastry
Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg*
1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.
2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.
Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.
3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. (To partially bake it, only an additional 5 minutes is needed.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.
Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.
For the candied peels
1 cup kumquats cut into half
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1. Remove the seeds from the kumquats and keep aside.
2. Bring the sugar, water and salt to a rolling boil and then throw in the kumquats
3. Let it boil for 10 minutes or until the colour changes of the sugar. When that happens immediately pour strain the fruit and put it on to a butter paper.
4. Let it rest for 15 minutes and then you can store it for up to a month
1. Take the baked pie crust and apply a tsp of the Kumquat marmalade
2. Spoon in the kumquat cream
3. And finally arrange the candied kumquat on top.
Serving: The tart should be served cold, because it is a particular pleasure to have the cold cream melt in your mouth.
Sending this to Tea Time Treats where the theme is citrus and is being hosted by Lavender and Lovage this month and What Kate Baked