ffwD: (Mandarin) Orange-Almond Tartlets

I was hesitant about this week’s recipe. I purchased all the ingredients and have had them lined up for about two weeks but I couldn’t bring myself to make it. I’m not sure why. However, when I finally broke down to make the tartlets, I decided to do so on a day I made frosted lavender tea cakes and chocolate mint cookies at the same time. Oh, and a pot of chili as well. What was I thinking? I have no idea…

Anyway, to begin, the sweet tart dough was easy to assemble but I was rather concerned about the lack of liquid used. One egg yolk? It was rather unseemly for me. But, I suppose this is why Dorie described this crust as having a “shortbread texture”. After letting the dough chill for several hours, it was crumbly and didn’t come together that well even after a couple of whacks with the rolling pin. I ended up just semi-rolling out the dough then hand pressing it into the tartlet pans.

And yes, I had to make tartlets after not being able to find an appropriately sized tart pan way back when I made Gérard’s Mustard Tart. The sweet tart dough recipe covered approximately five of my tartlet pans with a bit of pinching and pulling. I tried not to overwork the dough in the tartlet pans so the texture would be preserved. (And it was!)

As for the almond cream, it was absolutely a dream to make and to taste! (Yes, I licked the beaters.) The almond cream was so good that I thought it would be enough by itself in the tartlets. I should also mention here that while I like an orange now and then, I don’t care for them in desserts. However, I absolutely love Mandarin oranges, so I used those instead. Plus, I thought that they would work better size-wise because I was using small pans instead of one large pan.

When I tasted the final dessert with the slices of Mandarin oranges and the oozing almond cream, it blew me away. I loved biting into the citrus fruit in the middle of the cream. It was so delicious and satisfying. And the cookie crust was nice and almond-y! From the look of the final result (and the photos), I think I overbaked the tartlets, not time-wise, but temperature-wise. This was the second of three baked goods I had made that day, and the oven had already been on for awhile when I slid in the tartlets. Additionally, I know that my oven runs hot, so I was already planning on letting the tartlets bake for 40 minutes instead of the 50-60 as the recipe suggests. However, at the 30 minute mark, I could really smell the almond cream through the apartment. Upon opening the oven, I saw that the cream had already bubbled up and over the Mandarin oranges and formed a crust. So, out they came! I think that since I was also using tartlet pans instead of one big pan, there was less room for the cream to bubble and so the Mandarin orange slices were completely covered by the baked cream.

Overall, this dessert was absolutely worth eating, but slightly laborious in its execution. Having to wait one hour, two hours or overnight for the items to “set up” is a downer when this is the type of dessert that is so good you want to eat it immediately! Maybe next time I’ll make a double batch of dough and almond cream so that my next longing for this tart isn’t too far off!Make sure to check out other bloggers’ thoughts and results of this dish at French Fridays with Dorie. As usual, the recipe for this dish can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.


42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Me
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 00:28:55

    Sounds delicious! I love anything that resembles shortbread.

    Also, another surprising dish with orange flavors is Crepe Suzette, which is one of my favorite non-chocolate desserts – also fun b/c you get to flambe!!!

  2. Jessica
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 01:12:59

    Mandarin oranges are the best. It’s always nice when all that hard work was worth it for a delicious treat! Also, you should blog about the mandarin orange cake in a future post…

  3. Three-Cookies
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 03:17:28

    Sounds delicious, orange and almond is an interesting combination. The tart dough/base sounds pretty tasty on its own:)

  4. sanyaliving
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 04:37:01

    Your tarts turned out great! They look so golden and moist, mine turned out a bit crispy (or maybe a bit burnt is a better description!)

  5. Liz
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 05:24:07

    I agree about the filling (I licked my beaters AND bowl!!!). Love your mini tartlettes…and using mandarin oranges was a fabulous idea!

  6. Cher
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 07:03:47

    I love the “mini tarts” – I never seem to remember to pull them out when I am making something like this. Wasn’t this divine??? I am with you on the almond creme – I think I could just make a batch of that and skip everything else.

  7. Ronda
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 07:28:13

    Oh yummers! That looks divine! I would loved to have made it, but really there are only so many sweets one can eat.

  8. Mary
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 09:24:56

    These really sound scrumptious. The almond cream sounds otherworldly good and demands to be tried. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  9. Sarah
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 09:49:26

    I love the idea of doing these as tartelettes. What a perfect dessert idea! I agree with you about the almond cream. Definitely my favorite part of the recipe. I’m wondering what else I can add it to!!

  10. Trevor Sis Boom
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 11:45:08

    How funny. I concluded my post this week with the same sentiment. I will need to make double and triple batches of crust and creme the next time so I can experiment. I’m not all that convinced Dories crust technique and recipe proportions are the best but I’m willing to keep trying. Perhaps tartlets allowed for a quicker cooking time and less crust drying? Mine was a bit dry… or as you say, shortbready. lol.

  11. claire
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 12:55:33

    Sounds good but definitely looks like it took time! yum!

  12. Brownieville Girl
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 13:14:47

    Oh I’d love these – and somehow I much prefer being served my own little tartlet rather than a slice from a large tart!

  13. Stephirey
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 13:20:44

    Love the mini tarts! And you are so smart to use mandarins…my orange “supreming” skills are not so supreme!

  14. chunklet's mom
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 13:27:47

    this looks super good! just another thing that i need to try and make 😉

  15. Anne-Marie
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 15:46:12

    Ms. Chunklet! Another great take on French Fridays. I love that you do your own thing, using tartlet pans and mandarins. You rebel. Based on your description, I just want to make the almond cream!

  16. ComeUndone
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 16:17:30

    Great work! I agree that it’s a delicious and gorgeous treat.

  17. RadioDiva
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 16:51:22

    Once again, you sell yourself too short, Y.C….if those tartletts were over-baked, no one would have ever known it..they look like something from Food Network or America’s Test Kitchen! The crust looks crumbly yet with fun soft spots* and lots of flakes/cracks (*places for creamy goodness to hide!) which always makes me think of butter-y-ness =) AND…the description of the almond cream…I think I could spend a lovely, romantic, evening at home with some of that and nice glass of wine and never call whateverhisnameis again (too much?!?!). LOL! Anyway, SUPER job!! If and when you make this again, would you consider using clementines? Since you’re the expert on this, do you think they would work too? Just a thought….ROCK ON YC!! 😉

  18. Ker-Yng
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:01:12

    I guess when you bake you have this rush of adrenaline that makes you go on baking (and cooking)! Great job on your tartletts! I would try using poached pears next time.

  19. Allison
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:07:21

    Your tartlets are beautiful! I kept putting off this one too…don’t know why either. Am looking forward to trying again in the summer though!

  20. steph (whisk/spoon)
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:15:06

    i was hesistant about this one too, so i skipped it. glad to hear it was great…i’ll have to reconsider. 🙂

  21. Kathy
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 17:25:19

    Loved the mini tarts, they look so pretty! Mandarin oranges…what a great idea!
    I think you did a great job!

  22. Krissy
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 18:59:16

    I love your tartlets! When I baked two tarts at the same time, on the same oven rack, one got a little more well done, but the pan was darker so I should have probably baked it separately at 25^ lower temperature. BUT…both are delish and it was interesting to watch who ate which one. The crispy cookie lovers went for the darker tart and the soft and chewy cookie lovers went for the lighter tart. I’m glad I had one of each. This was a fun recipe and I will make it again…and try a different fruit.

  23. Kankana
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 19:05:40

    wow !! they looking gorgeous 🙂

  24. Elaine
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 20:43:08

    We both used mandarins. 🙂 I really loved how they tasted as well!

  25. Cakelaw
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 20:50:03

    I agree that this one was absolutely worth eating. It was amazing, and your mini tarts look so good. A favourite here too.

  26. SoupAddict
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 21:16:37

    I skipped this week, but I’m going to be making the almond cream for something else. That, alone, was worth reading the recipe!

  27. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 21:45:49

    These look good! The almond cream with the orange sounds amazing- I can’t wait to try these. 🙂

  28. Denise@There's a Newf in My Soup!
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 22:21:56

    Yes, someone else made tartlets! Yours look beautiful and it sounds like you were quite busy that day in the kitchen.

  29. curtorimfoodieszone
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 07:02:28

    I loveeee any crust that has that shortbread texture , it kinda melts in ur mouth!
    I didn try this with citrus , but can see how wonderful it is 🙂
    Oh the almond , cream , yeah , are perfect without the pie crust too:-)
    Urs sure look wonderful and i sooo lovee smaller tarts, its like every body has their own+ u can save one or 2 for pics , if the light it out!
    Happy weekend sweety !

  30. Renee (Kudos Kitchen)
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 08:17:33

    Wow! You were one busy lady in the kitchen that day! I’m impressed!
    Your tarts look so good too. I enjoyed reading your post very much and look forward to seeing your green beans next week. BTW, I licked the beaters too 🙂

  31. Candy
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 08:20:56

    I came so close to using mandarin oranges and after reading your post wished I had! Guess I’ll have to make the tart again!

  32. Tricia
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 13:24:43

    Wow you had a busy day 🙂 Kudos to you for trying it all. Your tartlets looked just lovely. I had the same initial impression where I thought it would be interesting, but wasn’t holding out huge hope. Loved it !!

  33. Terri
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 15:40:26

    Hmm… those little tartlettes look like they might be good with some chocolate drizzled on top! Yum!

  34. Joyti
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 04:21:41

    I use very little liquid in my tart crust too – it makes it more flaky, and ‘shorter’. I rather like it.
    And your rendition of this tart looks lovely – I like that you turned it into tartlets.

  35. betsy
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 14:08:38

    I made tartlets too. The crust only covered three tartlets, but my crust was a little thick… Good move on the Mandarin oranges. I used regular Navel oranges, but had to cut them in half to fit on top of the tartlet. Mandarins are much better proportioned. Good-looking result! Nice job.

  36. Mary
    Feb 13, 2011 @ 14:48:02

    Your tartlets look so good! I was really excited about this recipe, but had a busy week and just didn’t get them made. I love citrus and almond together, though, so I will definitely make this before too long!

  37. Becky
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 12:59:54

    Love your tartlet idea! Very cute little desserts!!

  38. Andrew
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 00:36:26

    Yay! Tartlets are good! I don’t own a tartlet pan, maybe I can use another dish to make it in?

  39. Lana
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 03:23:30

    I want tartlette pans! I want a proper TART pan! My crust was darker than I expected, and I baked my tart for only 35-40 minutes, knowing my hot oven. Next time, I’ll bake on lower temperature for a shorter period of time, with the foil covering the edges. There.
    But the cream was fabulous, I agree. I made mine with walnuts (husband is allergic to almonds) which i ground in the old-fashioned crank-contraption with the suction cup. I didn’t only lick the beaters, I ate several spoonfuls:)
    You know, it happens to me too: I get the cooking bug and the whole day I do nothing but mess with food:)

  40. Ann (napangel)
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 20:32:34

    Your tartlets are beautiful! I loved, loved, LOVED this recipe!

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