Saturday, March 27, 2010

Orange Madness: March 2010 Daring Baker Challenge Orange Tian!

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

I can't really say that citrus desserts are high on my list when it comes to baking in my home. I like citrus well enough, but for some reason, things made with chocolate tend to win over my family of non-dessert eaters a bit more. Not surprisingly, chocolate concoctions are also the easiest to give away, as there is most likely a chocolate lover not too far away. Citrus desserts are usually met with terms like "interesting" or "intriguing", not more ravishing language like "decadent" or in my case, "obsessive". Usually, I prefer to eat a worthy specimen as is, rather than by gilding the lily so to speak.

A mostly sunny Wisconsin March, and a really delicious citrus season despite the frigid Floridian temperatures, did excite me for this month's challenge (which in typical fashion, I left until the last moment to complete). A canning date with fellow food blogger Lo, only served to further excite. We had planned, and prior to my knowledge of this challenge, to make Three Citrus Marmalade from Food in Jars on the 18th. Not only did we get to cement our new friendship a bit more, but we made some fantastic marmalade. Twice.

There was no added pectin in our jam, and after our morning canning session we broke for lunch. On our return, we found that our sealed jam was as liquid as a heavy syrup. Fortunately, Marisa is the nicest person in the world, and emailed us that it was ok to unseal, reboil, add a bit of pectin and reprocess. We did as instructed and were pleased with our resulting marmalade.

Our first tastes of the little bit of extra were perfect in flavor and texture, but I noticed after I opened the canned jars, that it was still a bit on the thin side. I do think that despite its thinness, it is just perfect on toast. It really does have a remarkable balance of sweet and tart, and just a pleasant amount of bitterness in the back of your throat as you swallow. It was also a good lesson in citrus supreming: the process by which you segment an orange. You can view a few more marmalading adventure pics here on flickr.

This dessert required 8 oranges, the amount in one bag of organic, California naval oranges I picked up from Outpost this week. Since I had so much citrus, and it was organic, I borrowed a trick from my Mom and zested the whole lot first. I am really surprised at how nicely it keeps in the freezer, and at how it even retains its vivid color. I currently have a little jar of lemon and orange zest going, and it is quite handy when you need to pack a bit of citrus punch into a baked good, or add zing to a quick muffin topping. I like to freeze it first on wax paper or parchment, and then transfer it to a small, glass jar to store.

Orange Tian is a layered dessert, built upside down, so that the orange segments can be arranged artfully on the top. The middle layer is a whipped cream, stabilized with gelatine, and lightly enhanced with marmalade -and a glug of Cointreau, since I figured why not go all out orangy! The base is a pre-baked pastry dough round, brushed with additional marmalade.

I used this Pate Sablee recipe from Dorie Greenspan instead of the one recommended for the challenge. I fortunately found it on Sweet Bites, a fellow Daring Baker's site, since I do not have Dorie's Baking book. Yes, I know you may think that I do since I go on making recipes from it often, but I seriously rent it for months at a time from my library., and I just returned it after a two cycle rental run. I'm sorry Dorie, I really am going to buy it, and soon. I opted to add some of that reserved orange zest. That Dorie really knows her doughs!

I made a "family size" Tian using my springform pan as a mold, and then rerolled the excess dough to get two smaller ones. I have to say, the larger was easier to make and assemble, and was much cleaner in the end result. The crust had just enough shrinkage, and I didn't overdo the whipped cream. I assembled on parchment paper, and let it rest in the freezer for about 15 minutes before overturning it onto a platter.

I was surprised at how firm the gelatinized whipped cream got, and was thankful for it, since there was no disaster in flipping it over.

You can see how the little one on the left below had compromised orange slice placement for the size of the mold! It's packaged up and waiting for a trip to Lo's tomorrow so she and Peef can give me their expert opinions. I tend to usually be biased with my own dessert eating, since I can eat a date and be as happy as if I spent 4 days assembling and baking something. After making and trying all of the components, I can have a bit of tunnel vision when it finally comes the time to indulge. I think this is the reason that people go out for dessert! Well, one reason, since the temptation to eat it in its entirety certainly looms over the household.

If you too are curious about Orange Tian, you can find the recipes here, but I would recommend making Dorie's Pate Sablee, since it was truly worth it. Another month elapses, another Daring Challenge under my belt, both figuratively and literally. I am surprised at how much I am learning from these challenges. From how to read and interpret the directions, to simple tips from other Daring Bakers, and little tricks like this stabilized whipped cream, which I will no doubt put into employment elsewhere. It also gives me an excuse to have Maeckel over for supper.

Maeckel, who is kind of becoming my monthly DB Challenge-eating partner, and I just split the sorry looking one in half. (My Husband sat this one out...) I drizzled it with a bit of the chocolate syrup I made, instead of additional orange "caramel" sauce, and we agreed it was pretty tasty. We wern't quite sure if the chocolate was the right sauce, I think due to the bitter marmalade notes, but on its own, I think it would be well served at a Springtime brunch. But what really stands out to me the most, is Dorie's crust.


  1. Hi Rebecca, this is beautiful. The brilliance of the oranges make it so appetizing. By the way, I recently entered into my thirties too, and it was painful I must say (smile)...

  2. It's gorgeous! I would have been totally stressing over flipping that over... I breathed a sigh of relief for you in the course of the post!

    Freezing the orange zest is a brilliant idea, as I'm always scrambling to buy an orange or lemon whenever I need zest!

  3. Does it make me a bad person if my first response to your post is jealousy that I'm not able to make marmalade with you or eat your tasty treats? Don't judge me!
    The tian looks beautiful, makes me think I should have tried the original recipe. The one part I did use straight from the daring bakers was the pate sable and it caused me some pain, so next time I'm definitely going to try the Dorie version.

  4. innBrooklyn: The Dorie Pate Sablee did also need a bit of liquid added to it, I used a couple of Tablespoons of ice water. The DB recipe called for 2 egg yolks, I wonder if that would have helped. (The DB recipe called for 1 1/2 c. flour or 200 g. - I weighed the 1 1/2 c. and got 100 g. That was the main reason I went with Dorie Dough - it was a bit confusing...)

    Gotta click over and see yours now!

  5. I am still on my citrus kick and will make a flourless chocolate and orange cake for Passover - this Tian looks gorgeous - what an amazing job you did!!!!

  6. it was fun chatting with you last night! oliver had a blast with luke, too!

    and the tian was DELICIOUS. so glad you posted the recipe, i will have to try it soon. i recently made lemon & clementine marmalade, so this would be a perfect application.

  7. I should have asked you for an idea for serving my orange mascarpone crema and raspberry chipotle sauce. somehow I think that this could be a good pairing. Great job!

  8. Otehila: that raspberry and chipotle sauce looks awesome! I'd be half tempted to try it on top of this tian! I certainly think it would be a great combination!

  9. Jen: thanks! I enjoyed chatting with you too, and I'm glad the boys got along so well after Luc warmed up a bit!

  10. Wow. AMAZING. Great job on this challenge. The marmalade sounds amazing too.

  11. Tried this at the Burb blog soup night, and it was delicious. I've never heard of an orange tian, though--thought it said "flan" on the little notecard!

  12. Julia, I never heard of a tian before the challenge- it's funny tian and flan do look and sound similar, even if they don't taste similar!


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