Because it is Le Tour time again … three weeks of little or no sleep as I wish the time difference between the east coast of Australia and France were not so huge. Our local coverage of Le Tour is a long-standing fabulous tradition and part of that is a segment called Taste Le Tour, presented by a Frenchman who has called Australia home for decades, Gabriel Gaté. Gabriel explores the food and wine culture of the region surrounding the stage being raced that day. That is what is so great about Le Tour. You not only get to watch some amazing feats of sporting prowess and endurance, but the coverage shows you the countryside and some of the homegrown culture so it becomes a total viewing experience. It really makes you wish you were there!
But because I am not there, it helps to feel a little closer to the action if I have something to eat that will transport me a little closer in spacetime to where the action is. Of course, for me, that means patisserie of some kind. Two years ago, I was chomping down on some beautiful madeleines. This year, I need tarts. I need brûlée tarts infused with the sweet oranges from my uncle’s orchard.
These little orange brûlée tarts are really easy to make and totally divine to eat. I have used raw sugar in the pastry to give it a slightly more rustic flavour that complements the freshness of the orange in the filling. Be generous in filling these tarts.
You can, of course, make the filling and bake it in the same way as for the Vanilla Choc Chai Crème Brûlée. Alternatively, you can make one large tart. For both of these options, make a double batch of the brûlée filling.
Now, let’s see what today’s stage will bring … I will need these tarts. You need these tarts. We all need these tarts 🙂
I made twelve individual tarts but the number of tarts you can make with this pastry will depend on the size of your tart tins (mine are 6.5 centimetres in diameter at the base). There is enough crème brûlée filling in the above recipe to fill more than the twelve small tarts, in case it is required. Of course, you can make one large tart, 23 - 24 centimetres in diameter, if you wish! To do that, double the recipe for the filling and use the pastry recipe as stated. Leftover brûlée filling can be placed into ramekins and baked at 125°C for 40 - 45 minutes or until set but still wobbly in the centre.
A good tip for making pâte sucrée is to have the ingredients chilled (yes, even the flour on a hot day!)
185 grams plain flour
50 grams raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
125 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
17 grams egg yolk
150 grams cream (35% fat)
100 grams whole milk
3 grams orange zest
52 grams egg yolk
30 grams caster sugar
12 grams orange juice (freshly squeezed)
Heat the oven to 180°C.
Prepare twelve individual tart tins on a tray and set aside (you may need more or less, if your tart tins are smaller or larger than the ones used here).
Weigh and set out all your ingredients before you start.
Place the flour, salt, and raw sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to aerate.
Add the chilled butter and process for a few seconds just until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg and process just until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Be careful not to over-process the dough in the processor as the machine will heat the dough and the result will be tough rather than short and flaky.
Place the pastry onto a clean surface sprinkled lightly with flour. I tend to use two sheets of silicone paper and roll out the pastry between them, to prevent it sticking. This also allows me to use less flour, which in turns leads to a flakier pastry. Flatten the pastry slightly and roll it out to a thickness of about 3-4mm. If the pastry is very soft, refrigerate it for five minutes to make it easier to cut out discs to line the tins.
Cut the pastry into rounds slightly larger than the tins. I used a disc ten centimetres in diameter, which fit the tart tins perfectly. Re roll left over scraps again and cut out more rounds. Lift them gently using a pastry scraper or palette knife and line each tin.
You can use left over scraps to make frollini cookies in whatever shape you like. I hate throwing away this delicious pastry and the cookies are amazing 🙂
Cover and refrigerate the pastry for an hour or freeze for twenty to thirty minutes before baking. I tend to make the pastry the day before and freeze it until I am ready to bake it.
Prick the base of each tart with a fork and bake the tart shells for about 12-15 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack while you make the filling.
Weigh and measure all your ingredients before you start.
Reduce the oven temperature to 135°C.
Place the cream, milk, and orange zest into a saucepan.
Place over a medium heat and bring to boiling point.
Switch off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar, and orange juice in a large bowl until well combined.
Strain the infused cream mixture over the egg mixture, whisking to combine.
Press down on the orange zest in the strainer to extract every last bit of flavour!
Whisk the egg and cream mixture until smooth.
Fill the tart shells with the brûlée filling.
Bake at 135°C for 18-20 minutes, only until the filling is set but still a little jiggly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Carefully remove each tart from its tin.
Sprinkle a thin layer of caster sugar on each tart.
Use a kitchen blow torch to caramelise the top of each tart.
Serve immediately, at room temperature.
Extra tarts can be stored for up to 24 hours in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Caramelise them just before serving.
If you caramelise the top and store them in the fridge, the toffee will soften and lose its trademark crack.