This year, I headed to Disney California Adventure – Disneyland’s neighboring park and home to many fun food events at Disneyland Resort – to check out their Lunar New Year celebration. I tasted a wide variety of sweet and savory items, and I left inspired to try to recreate one of my favorites at home: the Mandarin Orange Green Tea Tarts.
The reason I chose the Mandarin Orange Green Tea Tarts, which I picked up at the Lucky 8 Lantern marketplace, is that it really exceeded my expectations for flavor when I took a bite. The original tart is made with a matcha green tea shortbread crust and it is filled with a touch of orange filling and a layer of pastry cream. The tart is then topped with mandarin orange segments and fresh raspberries.
For my tart, I started with a matcha-laced pastry dough. I only used matcha for the coloring and it does give it a great color – as well as a slightly citrusy fragrance and flavor – but you can add in a few drops of green food coloring if you need to up the intensity a bit. I rolled out the dough and carefully pressed it into tart shells, then baked until they were set and allowed them to cool completely.
When I tasted the original tarts, I felt that the subtle and fruity citrus layer underneath the pastry cream really helped to tie the whole dessert together. The original had bits of fruit in it, but wasn’t creamy enough to feel like a citrus curd. I used a bit of orange marmalade (one that isn’t too tart), just to add some citrus flavor the the tart filling. The vanilla pastry cream is poured on top of the tart filling. It should be relatively stiff so that the tart sets up well and can be handled easily without the need for a fork.
The finishing touch on this tart is the fruit on top. I used canned mandarin orange slices that I gently patted dry with a paper towel, along with fresh raspberries. Once the fruit was arranged, I warmed up a bit of apricot jam and glazed the fruit to give it a nice shine before allowing the tarts to set completely in the fridge.
The result was a tart that was close in look and flavor to the one that inspired me in the first place. It is probably not the fastest Disney dessert out there to make, but it’s a lot of fun to put together and it is much easier than you might think. The combination of green tea, sweet oranges, creamy pastry cream and tart raspberries works so well, making each bite a real treat.
The number of tarts that you will get from this recipe will vary slightly, as it all depends on the size of your tart shells. My Mickey Mouse cookie cutter, which I used instead of a tart pan for my Mickey-shaped tarts, was a little over 5-inches across and I only yielded 6 tarts from the dough. When I used 4-inch tartlet pans – an excellent substitute if you don’t have a mouse-shaped pan to work with – I was able to make 8 tarts. The baking time is about the same because the thickness of the tart shells is the same, so you shouldn’t have to make any alterations to the baking time with a slight difference in tart pan sizes. The recipe below calls for 4-inch tart pans (because it is more standard), but feel free to use any tart pan you might have.
Mandarin Orange Green Tea Tart
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp matcha powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1 large egg
1-2 tbsp water
approx 1/3 cup orange marmalade or jam
2 cups milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
Mandarin orange segments
1/3 cup apricot jam
Make the tarts: Preheat oven to 350F and take out eight 4-inch tart pans.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, matcha powder, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. Add in cold butter, cut into a few chunks, and pulse until the flour mixture looks sandy and the butter has been broken down into very small pieces. Add the egg and pulse until the dough starts to come together (dough will not come entirely together) and begins to look like very wet sand, then add in 1 tbsp water and pulse just until dough comes together. Add remaining tablespoon of water if dough is too dry.
Gather dough into a ball, warp in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Roll out chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/8-1/4-inch thick. Cut into 5 1/2 – 6-inch circles (slightly larger than a 4-inch tart pan), then transfer circles to tart pans and press into place, trimming off any excess dough. Gather remaining dough and reroll to cover remaining tarts.
Bake tarts for 17-20 minutes, until set. Allow tarts to cool completely before filling.
Make the filling: Spread 2 tsp of orange marmalade/jam in the bottom of each cooled tart shell
In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a simmer.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until smooth. Gradually stream in the hot milk mixture while whisking constantly, tempering the eggs. Once all the milk has been added, pour the mixture through a strainer and return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and add in vanilla extract and butter. Whisk until butter is completely incorporated and mixture is very smooth.
Divide into prepared tart shells (there may be a bit leftover, depending on the depth of your tart pans).
Topping: Arrange mandarin orange segments around the edge of the tarts. If using Mickey Mouse-shaped tarts, add one orange section at each ear. Place a whole raspberry in the center of the tart. If using Mickey Mouse-shaped tarts, add 1/2 of a raspberry to each ear.
Warm the apricot preserves in the microwave for a few seconds until hot. Using a pastry brush, gently brush a light coating of jam on top of the fruit, evenly covering it.
Refrigerate tarts for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve.
Makes 8 4-inch tarts
What do you think?