I’ve had a bunch of blood oranges hanging out in my fridge over the past few weeks, and since they are my favourite winter fruit, I had to do them justice and give them an appropriate send-off. I remember the time I first discovered blood oranges; admiring the alluring blush on their skin at the grocery store, cutting my first one open and marvelling at the glistening, jewel-toned insides nestled in creamy white pith, the blood-red juice dripping delightfully through my fingers. A temptress of a fruit, with a taste unlike the appearance of its insides; not viscerally deep or dark at all, but rather sweet and delicate. Where Persephone had her pomegranates, I would much rather have had a blood orange. (Seriously though – who eats just six tiny pomegranate seeds? Were I Persephone, we would have had winter for eternity – and to that I say, “No, thanks!” Anyway, I digress.)
As the flesh of blood oranges can vary from a bright orange to that dark, murky red after which they are named, I wanted to showcase this wonderful diversity and settled on the idea of a blood orange tart. Gingersnap crust, chocolate ganache, blood orange curd, toffee bits nestled between the two layers… and because I enjoy layering both in food and fashion, candied fennel and blood orange peel as an accent (also because there’s so much goodness in a citrus fruit that I hate to waste any of it – peel included). The visual wow factor, though, comes solely from the blanket of fresh, untreated sections of orange on top. Nature’s work far outshines my own, and it deserves to sing a capella now and then.
A few things I would do differently next time: I would dissolve a bit of gelatine with a few tablespoons of orange juice and mix it in with the orange sections before I put them onto the tart, as I found that juice ran out of the sections and made the curd runny. I would also make a candied fennel ice cream, instead of plain candied fennel, to provide temperature contrast between cold ice cream and the heat from the gingersnap crust.
In the interest of space, recipes will be posted separately. Stay tuned!