The first day of Spring is right around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited! The sun is shining, the snow melting and the mountain grasses are turning green again. In Colorado, winter is mostly colored in muted tones highlighted by the white of snow, but spring brings the renewal of life and the bright colors that I adore. This season, even fashion is taking its cue from fruit and floral shades that are so delicious.
I’ve been feeling inspired by the colors of nature – painted desert sunsets, Pacific ocean blues and fresh citrus greens, yellows and oranges. This morning, artist, dear friend and soul-sister, Helen Wheeler-Shaw shared this enchanting painting with her friends. Sorbet atop cones dripping in the colors of strawberries and peaches – more scrumptious color intoxication.
Helen is the sister who gently calls me out on my bs, she has been there with me through much of life’s drama and magic, and she is the one who calls me to ask, “ Have you been writing every day? Are you honoring yourself by making time for you and your passions?”
I had more than a few challenging moments this week and I was letting one unfortunate situation overshadow the goodness in my life. So after chatting with Helen earlier in the day, I took to my kitchen for some therapy. Inspired by the colors at hand, I made this luscious Sonoran Orange & Ginger Tart. The oranges came from a friend’s tree in Arizona. Sweet and juicy, they spoke to me and said, “ cheer up, get over it, shake-it off, look around at all the good in your world, make something beautiful with us!” …and so I did.
|Sonoran Orange & Ginger Tart ~ Tart Crust|
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sift the flour and set aside.
- With an electric or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and egg yolk and beat for a minute or two.
- Sprinkle the flour over the butter and egg mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Press the dough together into a ball, wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out the dough to fit your tart tin. This was made in an 8 inch square.
- Pick up the dough as best as you can and place it in the tin.
- This dough tends to fall apart as it is moved – don’t worry, place the large pieces in the pan and then fill in with the smaller pieces and press together and into the edges of the pan.
- Remove the excess dough from the edges.
- Place a large piece of parchment into the tart tin, over the dough and fill with beans, rice or pie weights.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove beans and parchment and cool.
|Sonoran Orange & Ginger Tart ~ filling & assembly|
- 1½ tablespoons orange zest
- 4 eggs + 1 yolk
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 4 oranges), strained through a sieve
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 orange slices for decorating
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pre heat oven to 330 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the orange zest, egg, egg yolk, orange juice, sugar, ginger and vanilla.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the baked tart shell.
- Place the tart in the center rack of the oven (I admit that this step can be tricky and takes a very steady hand. You could also place the tart shell on the oven rack and then pour the liquid mixture in).
- Bake for 45 minutes, turning half way through.
- Remove from oven to cool on a wire rack, cover with plastic wrap or foil and chill for at least four hours.
- In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Place the orange slices on top of the sugar and continuously move them around with a fork or tongs. As the sugar begins to melt, flip the slices onto the other side, making sure that they are completely coated.
- When the sugar is in a full boil and becomes very sticky, remove the slices and set on waxed paper or a plate to cool.
- Decorate the cooled tart with the orange slices and serve.