This orange tart recipe is a luxurious looking dessert: the perfect balance of the crunchiness, warm creaminess and sweet caramelised chewiness!
I absolutely love cooking with agar. I like that I have lots of control over the resulting texture and that I can transform most dishes to suit a vegetarian, vegan or special diets with low sugar or low fats. This is not a sugar-free dessert but sugar can be reduced. Also this orange tart recipe, could have been made with eggs but I achieved a similar result for the custard by using NZ Agar to create the creaminess.
This dessert is the perfect balance of the crunchiness of the pastry, the warm creaminess of the custard and the sweet caramelised chewiness of the oranges. It is a good recipe to make at this time of the year when the orange season is in full swing and we are in need of comfort food. Click the link to read about NZ Agar.
650ml cream (or non-dairy equivalent ~ Soy Milk/ Coconut cream)
zest of 2 oranges
100g caster sugar (optional or substitute)
2 tsp Agar powder
3 tbsp orange liqueur (or orange water)
250ml cream for whipping
* Filling may ‘sweat’ when weather is humid. To prevent this, you may dissolve 1 tsp of corn starch (corn flour) with the agar into the liquid that you are cooking
Note: Using cream only for this recipe makes a luxurious dessert that is also very rich, it is excellent in small portions; for those who enjoy bigger portions (like I do), replace half the cream with full fat milk. You can also make this recipe lactose free & vegan by using coconut milk/cream or soya milk.
2 cups Butternut Snap biscuit crumbs
70g butter, melted
50g toasted slivered almonds
3 oranges, sliced thin
icing sugar for dusting
For the Filling:
Pour 650ml cream into a pan and sprinkle with the Agar. Using a whisk, mix to combine and let stand 10 minutes for the Agar to swell. Make an orange cream by adding orange zest, orange liqueur and sugar to the Agar mixture. Stir to mix and place the pan on medium heat. Bring to the boil then simmer for 2-3 minutes while stirring, until Agar & sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whip the 250ml cream until firm. To combine, add 1/3 of the orange cream to the whipped cream and mix well with a whisk. Continue adding the rest of the orange cream until combined thoroughly. Ladle the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate to set (about 30 min).
For the Crust:
Combine the biscuit crumbs, butter and nuts. Press the mixture in tart dish and chill until firm. Spoon the cold custard into the crust.
For the Garnish:
Arrange the orange slices on the tart. Dust with icing sugar, caramelize under the grill and refrigerate 1 hour to set well. Serve at room temperature for maximum flavour.
Chef's tips: if you'd like a little extra that creates a festive mood and additional flavour, warm 3 tbsp of Grand Marnier or Triple Sec in a pan and light a match to it to create a 'flambé'. Pour on the pie while the liqueur is still burning...it creates a very dramatic effect at night with the lights down!
Agar is a positive alternative to gelatine and has 10 times the gelling power of its animal counterpart. Agar needs to re-hydrate to activate its jellifying abilities which can be used in a number of varied applications. It can also be used to harmonise the texture (like in our recipe today) and to stabilize certain ingredients like sugar by prevent its crystallisation. Read about other applications for NZ Agar: egg replacement , in raw foods or to convert from gelatine.
Agar is considered to be a functional food in term of its beneficial contribution to balanced nutrition. It has virtually no calories, is fat-free, is very high in fibre (75-80%) and has a beneficial effect on digestion. Being a seaweed extract, it contains minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin Bs, while being very low in sodium. It has a good satiating ability (as agar’s indigestible fibre absorbs and retains water resulting in a feeling of fullness) and a purifying action on the body which is great for weight reduction. Agar also has a mild laxative effect. Click to read more about Agar's benefits.