Blood oranges just might be some of the most beautiful citrus fruits out there, with a sweet and colorful flesh that ranges from a hint of red to a deep purple. Blood oranges are always an excellent choice for juicing and look beautiful just sliced into a fruit salad, but that fresh juice can be incorporated into some stunning desserts, as well. These Blood Orange Curd Tarts offer a surprisingly easy way to show off the colorful citrus in a perfectly pink springtime tart.
The filling for the tart is a blood orange curd. The curd is made separately from the tart crusts and is poured into the already baked crust, then left to set in the refrigerator. You will need fresh blood oranges for the curd and the juice should be strained for best results. I add a small amount of lemon juice to the orange juice to boost the acidity slightly, as blood orange juice is so sweet on its own. The curd is easy to make and only takes a few minutes to put together. It may look fairly liquid when it is hot, but it will set up completely as it cools.
The tart dough is a simple shortbread-like dough that can be pressed directly into your tart pans. I like the contrast between the buttery, cookie-like crust and the smooth curd filling. While you can’t get a press-in crust to be quite as thin as a rolled-out tart dough, it is easier to put together and a bit less intimidating if you’re less experienced with pastries. I used 4-inch tart shells for these tarts. While that is a relatively standard tart shell size, you might find that your individual tart pans run slightly smaller or slightly larger than that. It won’t impact the baking time for the crust by more than a minute or two and you can keep an eye on the color to check for doneness.
I garnished my tarts with slices of dehydrated blood oranges (recipe coming soon!) that I made in my dehydrator. You can also buy dried orange slices to use as garnish, if you don’t want to make your own. That said, the tarts are a gorgeous pink color and don’t need much to dress them up, so feel free to enjoy them as-is, as well!
Blood Orange Curd Tarts
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp milk
In a large bowl, beat together butter, salt and sugar until well combined. Gradually blend in the flour, followed by the milk. The dough will first become sandy, then it will begin to come together into a ball. Gather dough together and press into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to rest it slightly.
Preheat oven to 375F. Divide dough into 6 equal quantities and divide evenly into 6 4-inch tart pans. Press the dough firmly against the base and sides of the pan, creating a crust that is no more than 1/4-inch thick on all sides. Repeat until 6 tarts have been shaped.
Bake for 15-19 minutes, or until tart shells are golden brown. Allow shells to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Fill cooled shells with orange curd as directed below, or store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Blood Orange Curd
2/3 cup strained, fresh blood orange juice
1 tbsp strained, fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar, orange juice and lemon juice. Cook, stirring until sugar is dissolved completely, until mixture comes to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly stream the hot juice-sugar syrup into the egg. Beat until very smooth. Strain mixture back into your saucepan, then cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir salt and butter. Stir until butter is completely incorporated. (Makes about 1 1/2 cups curd)
Tart Assembly: Spoon approximately 1/4 cup into each cooled tart shell. Garnish with a dried orange slice (if desired) and refrigerate until curd has completely set, at least 2-3 hours.
Makes 6 tarts