We’re on day five of being snowed the fuck in, here in Washington, DC, folks. This city is not equipped to deal with heavy snowfall and is hence totally inefficient at clearing the streets. This means the federal government is closed for days at a time. I anticipate it being closed for the remainder of the week due to yet another blizzard scheduled for this afternoon and all day tomorrow. To this, the ever-clever Lauren Mangiaforte says, “How is Obama supposed to fix the economy if he can’t get out of his driveway!” As Chicagoans new to this city, both Mr. President and I are indubitably horrified by the condition of the streets of Washington. There is also no science happening this week, I’ve come to accept. There can, however, be some blood-work happening.
I’ve been filling the time with Netflix (<3), cooking, catching up on periodicals and podcasts, films noir and correspondence. I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining. I had some blood oranges lying around, so I thought I would adapt this recipe from Food & Wine/ Deb’s recent successful attempt on Smitten Kitchen. My attempt was a total failure, but here are some pretty images from the pre-failure part of the process. Blood oranges are a favorite of mine, and not just because I’m creepy and love Bon Iver’s most recent EP and have been doing oncology research in hematology for four years—it’s a great fruit! The beautiful deep scarlet and burgundy hues evoke lovely warm sentiments, much like the syrah I would pair it with. I’m aware of the rule that a dessert wine accompanying an acidic tart like this one should be sweeter than the dish so that one doesn’t notice the change in acidity between dessert and drink as much. And I love port wine as much as the next person, but I choose a a jammy, fruity type of wine like a syrah or Australian shiraz with this dessert, in a perfect world in which I didn’t totally destroy it in the oven.
Pretty, right? Seems beauty is as fleeting as everything else in this world. I’m too ashamed to post a picture of what the final product looks like. Suffice it to say that it’s a blood orange cobbler now. Totally depressing; it still tastes pretty good though. Here is Zoe Nathan’s recipe:
Flaky Blood Orange Tart
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 8 to 10 blood oranges (I halved the recipe and used four oranges for a smaller tart)
- 1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
1. In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. I sort of fingered the flour mixture and butter until it was crumbly. The goal is incorporation here, so it’s okay if you don’t use a processor. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse (incorporate) just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
2. On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
3. Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for a blood orange mimosa!
4. Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. ( I froze it overnight)
5. Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. DO NOT FUCK THIS PART UP LIKE I DID. It’s key. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely.
Zoe suggests serving it with a salted caramel sauce. I suggest a Syrah. Maybe both. I’ll do better next time.