Cherry, blood orange meringue tarts
Posted On February 27, 2019 By Kathryn
I can’t get enough of blood oranges when they are in season (you will see them all over right now). This recipe came off the back of a collaboration I did with the amazing photographer Louise Hagger. We would choose a colour theme, in this case it was black, and design a series of recipes around that. I love this shot for its dark, moody and utterly luxurious atmosphere. The tarts themselves were decadent and indulgent. The slight sharpness of the fruit marries up perfectly with sweet meringue. The sweet shortcrust is made the way my Mum always showed me. There is no holding back on the butter and the resulting pastry melts in your mouth. This will make six mini tarts – I use loose bottom tins, roughly 4/5 inches round. This would work as a larger tart too. I would go for an 8/10 inch.
Photo credit – Louise Hagger
Sweet shortcrust pastry
8oz/225g plain flour
6 oz/170g fridge cold unsalted butter
1 tbsp icing sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 medium egg yolk
1 tbsp ice cold water
Blood orange curd
This is a recipe I used from the amazing Salt, Sugar, Smoke by Diana Henry. If you don’t already have this book, you need in it your life. As a shortcut you could use shop bought lemon curd. For quantity here, you don’t need to be too particular- you just need enough to coat the base of each tart, so a jar will more than suffice.
Cherry, orange and vanilla compote
200g fresh or frozen cherries, stones removed and halved (blackberries can be used also)
zest and juice of 1 small blood orange
1 plump vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
40 ml water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
220g caster sugar
2 egg whites
Firstly make the pastry. Measure the flour and icing sugar into a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour, rubbing the butter and flour between your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and using the blade of a knife, cut the egg into the flour until well mixed. Everything will just about start to clump together. Use your hands to bring it together, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed very lightly until you have a nice ball of dough. Roll into a log, long enough to cut 6 discs from, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (If making one large tart, flatten the pastry into a round disk, wrap and refrigerate as above.
To make the compote, place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
When ready to make the tarts, remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. Grease each tart tin with a little butter and dust with flour. Set aside. Slice the log of pastry into 6 equal disks and roll each one out so that it is slightly bigger than the tart tin you are using. Line each tin with the rolled out pastry, trim the edges and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 180’C. Blind bake for 12-15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden. (Note- I find every time I bake tarts, these timings vary ever so slightly. Keep an eye on them while they bake and if you feel they need a little less/more time, trust your instinct and go with it.) When ready, allow to cool.
To make the Italian meringue, put the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Swirl gently every now and then to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil until the temperature reaches 122’C.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and then slowly add the sugar syrup in a slow steady stream. Whisk, on a high speed, until the meringue has cooled down and is thick and glossy.
To assemble, spread a layer of blood orange curd over the base of each tart. Top with the cooled compote and finally place a few dollops of meringue onto each. Use a blow torch to crisp up the meringue, and serve immediately.
Note -These tarts work brilliantly with shop bought lemon curd and fresh raspberries.