Blood Orange Curd with Almond Crust

ariamiles-sonomafarm-02 Something bubbles within when change is about to happen. The dual between fear and doubt seem to dance around in my head. These thoughts don’t overwhelm or paralyzes me to move forward, but the feelings are most definitely present. However, when I do leap into that change, I always learn lessons I could only have learned from that particular shift. Coming out the other side a little more grown up and confident than I was when I began.

One of my biggest lesson's was how the birth of my son went down. After trying everything (I mean EVERYTHING) to change his breech position in the final months of my pregnancy, I finally accepted the fact that he was comfortable just the way he was and was going to enter into this world how he wanted - no matter how hard I tried to force my will. I really didn’t have, don’t have, control over well any of it really. Argh!


And now, with this second pregnancy, I am wiser having gone through that experience. Yes, my desire is to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) but I ain't attached to it. I'll be disappointed if it doesn't happen, of course,  but I am more accepting and dare I say patient with her final position. Trusting that she will end up how she wants. She is already feistier inside then my son ever was and I keep hearing her saying, "Oh you want to have a vaginal birth - get ready mama cause I'm gonna give you one to remember!". That's my girl.

Oddly enough, I love it when I am presented with unexpected challenges of control in the kitchen. When a particular dish doesn’t come out quite right - it ignites my creativity juices like no other. My husband doesn’t understand why I always seem to try out new recipes whenever we have dinner guests. This unknown excites me. It’s part of the thrill of cooking for me. Yes, sometimes a dish ends up in the trash, truly unable to be saved. But sometimes, as with this recipe, what started out as a beauitful Blood Orange Curd Tart - ended up as Blood Orange Bars!


This was majorly due to the fact that the top of the crust got burnt and the curd filling was way too dense cause I couldn't find my tart pan so I used a quiche pan instead (yes I thought I’d get away with it!). Basically, many elements were not in line. But the taste was great and so were the pictures along the way and wanted this post to be about all the magical delicious things that can happen when imperfection presents itself.


Almond Crust

This is one of my all time favorite butter-free, easy-to-press crust that goes directly into the oven without needing to roll or chill. Toasting the flours gives them a lovely nutty flavor, reminiscent to graham cracker. Make sure you press it on the thin side in your pan as it will rise when baked due to the baking powder.

1-1/4 cups whole grain spelt flour, toasted* 1/ 2 cup almond flour, toasted* 1 tsp baking powder 1/3 cup maple syrup 1/3 cup mild extra virgin olive oil or almond oil pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

* To toast flours: on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, evenly spread spelt and almond flours. Place in oven and toast flour for about 8 minutes or until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from oven and use the parchment paper as a funnel to transfer the flours to a medium mixing bowl. Let cool a few minutes.

Add baking powder and pinch of salt to the flour bowl and whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup and olive or almond oil until throughly combined and emulsified.

Add the maple/oil mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir with a spatula to incorporate.

Press the dough evenly into the pre-oiled tart pan. Be careful not to make it too thick on the bottom as the dough will puff up a bit in the oven from the baking powder.

Press the dough against the sides of the tart pan with your thumb to evenly distribute along the sides. Then, using a small fork, gently press down on dough and carefully poke holes throughout the bottom of the dough.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit inside the tart shell as well as hang a bit over the edge. Then fill inside with beans or rice. This is called "blind baking". Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 20 minutes.

Carefully remove the parchment paper and beans or rice from the tart shell. Place bake in the oven and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Allow to cool to room temperature before adding the curd.

Blood Orange Curd

I was curious if I could make a curd without any sugar or butter. To my excitement, I could. This curd is tangy, slightly sweet and lighter than the ones made with regular butter. Any leftover curd, transfer to airtight container and store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Stir this into yogurt, whipped cream, spread on scones, toasted bread or eat it straight.

5 egg yolks 1/2 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice 2 TB blood orange zest 1/2 cup of runny honey 5 TB of coconut oil

In a medium, heat resistant bowl, whisk together egg yolks, zest, runny honey until combined. Set aside.

Put a small pot on the stove with a cup of water in it over a medium-low flame. Bring to a simmer and put the heat resistant bowl on top of the small pot for a homemade double broiler. You are cooking the curd with the rising steam.

Whisk in the blood orange juice and the coconut oil. The bowl may get hot so make sure you have an oven mitt or kitchen towel nearby. Mix continuously with a wooden spoon or silicone spaltula, until the mixture thickens enough to coat a spoon. About 10 minutes.

Use an oven mitt or kitchen towel to carefully take off bowl from pot, fill the tart shell with the warm curd and allow to set at room temperature.