Like many others, I came to this challenge with no idea what an 'orange tian' was. It turned out to be a lovely dessert - crisp, shortbread-esque pate sablee smoothed with homemade marmalade, smoothed over with scented whipped cream and topped by orange segments seeped in caramel.
Despite having never tasted an orange tian before, I decided to play with the flavours. I swapped in blood oranges instead of 'blonde' oranges (as they call them here in Switzerland) as I simply cannot resist their flavour and I thought they would look stunning in the dessert.
I also decided to be 'daring' and incorporate rosemary. I absolutely love rosemary, but I usually only use it in savoury dishes. I had a hunch it would work well in the cream layer of the dessert. And so my mum walked in on me standing in the kitchen alternately delicately chewing a leaf of rosemary and a segment of blood orange.
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.
I was very excited when I noticed that the recipe included making marmalade. I haven't made any jams since I used to as a child with my Grandma. Now I think back to it, I'm not quite sure why I was often left in charge of a big pot of boiling sugar, standing on my little stool by the Aga with a very long spoon. Still, it's one of my most treasured memories of my Grandma.
The resulting marmalade is really very tasty. I was worried that the pith would still be bitter despite the multiple blanchings, but it mellowed out in the end product. I decided to try and not use pectin and try to use pips instead. Unfortunately my oranges didn't have any pips, but I found a lemon in the fridge and used those instead, tied in a little square of muslin. It firmed up beautifully.
Another new element was the pate sablee (my accents don't seem to be working, so excuse the lack of them). It's the richest of the french pastry crusts and really very tasty. The method was unusual too - you have to beat the egg yolk and sugar till pale and creamy before adding it to the ice cold butter and flour. I think it would be quite lovely just as biscuits.
Happily my mum had some old crumpet moulds (which, believe me, are going to be used for their original purpose soon) which I could use as moulds and to cut out rounds of the pastry. I managed to have a bit of a baby-swap with the pastry - I took out the remaining pastry from my Roasted Rhubarb Tarts and used that instead of the sablee! I did think they looked different to others I had seen on the forum but it wasn't till the next day when I spotted my pate sablee dough still waiting patiently in the fridge that I realised my mistake.
For my tians I used our absolute favourite cream in the world, which stars above. It's unbelievably thick and decadent and has a wonderful flavour that I can never put my finger on. It added a lovely richness to the dessert. On another note, I've always loved the Italian for double cream - doesn't doppia panna create the image of thick, luscious cream dropping off a spoon?
I submerged my spring of rosemary in a sea of the beautiful thick cream and heated it gently to infuse it with the flavour of the herb. It then sat in the fridge overnight before being whipped. When I took it out this morning, I was slightly worried - the cream had set slightly oddly and had small lumps. It seemed to come together when whipped, however. I added a little extra plain whipped cream to smooth it out. I don't think I got quite as much volume on the rosemary cream.
After having learnt to segment an orange (who knew it was so easy?!) I made my caramel. I was glad that it wasn't my first time making a dry caramel - it's definitely something to get used to and the orange juice really made it foam up. The orange segements then seeped in half the caramel overnight. When it came to drying them out on kitchen paper I realised we had run out, so they had to make do with coffee filters...
I also found I had to split some of the fatter segments in two to get a nice even layer when placing them in the bottom of the moulds.
I really enjoyed assembling the tians, with the different layers. I used the tip off the forums of grating down the edges of the pate sablee to fit the moulds where it had spread during cooking. Amazingly they also easily popped out of the moulds - I just flipped them over onto the plate, peeled off the square of parchment and eased them out.
They're really tasty - my mum went to try one bite and ending up eating an entire tian. She then spent five minutes going 'MMMMMNN', describing the aftertaste in detail and occasionally saying 'delicious' at random. A success, I feel!
Blood Orange and Rosemary Tian
(Makes four tiny tians and lots of marmalade!)
I don't have time to type all the recipes out today, apart from my changes, but you can find everything you need on the Daring Kitchen website - just scroll down a little and it'll be there.
My changes - I made half measures of everything except the marmalade. I didn't use pectin in my marmalade, just put some pips in some fabric and heated it for slightly longer. I swapped in blood oranges for the segments and caramel. For the rosemary cream I gently heated the 3/4 of the cream with a sprig of rosemary then left it to seep overnight in the fridge before whipping the rosemary cream and then adding the gelatine. I then beat the remaining 1/4 of the cream and folded that in.