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.
Pop the champagne folks, because for the first time in ages, I finally have a completed Daring Bakers’ challenge! Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that it was a citrus dessert… well maybe just a little.
Our challenge for this month was an Orange Tian – a paté sablé base (shortbread-like pastry), whipped cream layer and topped with caramelised oranges and caramel syrup. I know mine doesn’t look like the original challenge and I admit, I did change all the elements of the dessert. Oops! But I’ve always been a believer in the fact that The Daring Bakers isn’t just about the challenge of learning new things but the fun of interpreting a recipe. And giving credit where credit’s due, this challenged finally kicked me up the butt and got the mojo flowing again.
Tian is a word not heard very regularly in our house but in essence, it means ‘stack’ so I like to think that mine is still keeping with the spirit of this month. And naturally, there was no way I was going to stray from the citrus element! If you’d like to see the original Orange Tian recipe be sure to check out all the other Daring Bakers’ posts.
The paté sablé recipe is an old faithful of mine so I chose to use it and rather than a whipped cream filling, which I thought was a bit ‘heavy’, I chose to make a light lemon custard cream instead. I also have issues with marmalades so that part of the challenge turned into a zesty orange syrup, which I spooned around the tian. And finally, instead of cooking the orange segments in caramel, I left it fresh, with a caramel spun sugar topping to finish off. Unfortunately my spun sugar wasn’t behaving itself on this warm day so instead of angelic wisps of sugar threads I ended up with what looked like a crown of thorns. Appropriate really seeing as Easter is near (*smile*).
I loved how this dessert tasted and it made me miss the summer months. The fresh orange segments with the tangy smooth lemon cream filling that was sweetly tempered by the orange syrup and complemented by the gentle crunch of the buttery shortbread-like pastry? It was pleasure at its finest. This is why I love citrus so so much.
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g pure icing sugar, sifted
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- 250g plain flour, sifted
- 250ml thickened cream
- finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 6 large egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 125ml strained lemon juice (from the 2 lemons)
- 1 tsp gelatine powder / 1 gold gelatine leaf
- 80ml water
- 1 orange
- 1/3 cup of caster sugar
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 Tbl water
- 3 large oranges – peeled and segmented
- 18 Paté Sablé biscuits (from above recipe)
- Lemon Cream (from above recipe)
- icing sugar
- Orange syrup (from above recipe)
- 6 x spun sugar nests (from above recipe)
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and mix. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of clingwrap and shape into a disc. Cover with clingwrap and refrigerate thoroughly before using.
- Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease and line baking trays. Roll out the sablé pastry to 5mm thickness and use 8-10cm fluted round cutters to cut rounds. Place on baking tray and bake for around 8 minutes or until it’s just slightly coloured. Cool on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- (You should get about 20 biscuits)
- Soften the gelatine powder with 2 tsps cold water and set aside to gel for 5-10 minutes. If you’re using the leaf, soften it in a little cold water and set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the cream and lemon zest over medium low heat until it comes to a simmering point. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until combined and whisk in the lemon juice.
- While stirring continuously, add the warmed cream mixture slowly to the egg mix.
- Stand the bowl over a pot of low simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until it is the consistency of thickened custard.
- Add the gelled up gelatine powder and stir through the lemon mix until dissolved. If you’re using the leaf, wring out the excess water of the gelatine leaf before adding to the custard.
- Strain into a clean bowl then press a sheet of clingwrap onto the surface of the custard (this will stop a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until cool and set.
- (Recipe adapted from Christine Manfield)
- With a zester, zest orange to form long strips of rind. Alternatively use a vegetable peeler to peel the rind off thinly then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife. Juice the orange and strain. You should have about 80ml of juice.
- In a pan over low heat, bring the water, juice and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest and increase the heat. Without stirring, simmer for about 5 minutes or until it’s reduced and slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool.
- Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes and set aside. Lay your table with greaseproof baking paper.
- Heat the caster sugar with water over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Brush the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if any sugar crystals form. Turn the heat up to medium and cook without stirring until it’s golden.
- Plunge the pan into the bowl of iced water to stop the caramel from cooking and allow to cool for a minute until the caramel has thickened.
- Dip a fork into the caramel and hold it high and let the caramel fall onto the baking paper in thin, wispy strands. If the caramel strands are thick or are forming beads then it means you need to let the caramel cool further. If the caramel starts to harden or get too thick, reheat over low heat.
- Gather sugar strands and form into a bunch. Make six bunches of spun sugar nests.
- Note 1 - As you can see, my spun sugar nest didn’t turn out that well because I got too impatient and didn’t let the caramel cool enough.
- Note 2 - Best way to clean up after is to fill the caramel pot with water, add the toffeed forks and simmer over a gentle heat. The caramel will simply melt off the pan and cutlery and into the water.
- Note 3 - Set aside a bowl of cold water in case you get hot caramel on your skin. Dunk in water and NEVER ‘wipe the caramel off’ or you’ll take your skin off in the process. Ouch!
- On a serving plate, place one sablé biscuit in the centre and spoon 1 tablespoon of the lemon cream onto the biscuit. Layer a few orange segments over the cream. Place another biscuit on top and spoon on more lemon cream. Layer a few more orange segments.
- Dust the final biscuit with icing sugar and place on top of the stack. Spoon a tablespoon or so of orange syrup around the dessert and top off with the spun sugar nest. Serve immediately.