Saturday, March 27, 2010

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. To quote her "The dessert is made of different layers: a pate sablee with orange marmalade, a flavored whipped cream topped with fresh orange segments and served with a caramel and orange sauce. You build the dessert upside down and then unmold the dessert so that the bottom layer (the orange segments) becomes the top layer."

I had never heard of this dessert but it is fantastic: creamy, light, bright with citrus and pleasantly sweet with a stunning presentation. When the challenge first was posted I was excited just to learn to to make marmalade but the whole dessert was an amazing learning experience. Since it is so time consuming I likely will revisit the marmalade long before the rest of it. Hopefully one day (anyone have a special occasion, the urge to go in on the ingredients and a mixer?) I will make tians again, perhaps even experimenting with other fruits like grapefruit, kumquat and a little ginger.

In a break from form I am placing the recipes below the pictures. I don't want to skip including them but they are LONG. I added a few comments to them and between the pictures as well.

Boiling the thinly sliced oranges, three times, to remove bitterness. No one ever said marmalade was fast.

The end result was a little chunky but super delicious. I wanted to eat it all with a spoon (and had trouble NOT eating it all with a spoon since I made this the weekend before the rest of the Tian). Next time I'll perhaps run the peels through the food processor a bit to make them finer...then again I like candied rind bits.

I segmented the oranges and made the orange-caramel sauce the night before I assembled the Tians. It was a good decision as it took longer than I expected. Unfortunately my orange slices were mandarin sized. I should have picked bigger ones! Learning the proportions for a flavored caramel sans using a touch of extract was useful. I always wondered how Baileys-Guinness Caramel happened and now I have some idea.

 The assembled Orange Tians as served. They were a success and worth all the labor involved. It would be nice to figure out how to smooth the Saran wrap a bit more to get the elegant clean slides but my krinkled ones were fine with me.

Pate Sablee tastes like a very light shortbread though less sweet... The leftover of it, the marmalade and the whipped cream made for lovely "ice cream" sandwiches that could be dipped in the orange-caramel sauce or eaten on their own.

For the Pate Sablee:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
[I added a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste!]

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges. [I used juicing oranges and I needed so much orange juice for the recipe. I'd recommend another kind. Their segments were really small and made it hard to shape them into the top of the Tian.]

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments. [My sugar started to crystallize and get firm here but I just kept stiffing over lowered heat for a few minutes longer to work it out. Everything turned out fine.]

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:
Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone. [I used ramekins lined with saran wrap]

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.[I used a strainer and touched up with a paper towel. It was effective enough for me.]

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.


  1. Those sandwiches sound good! Glad you enjoyed this challenge--I did too. I loved the marmalade too, which is a good thing, cause I got carried away and made 14 jars!

  2. That's great you've learnt so much from this daring baker challenge! Your Tian looks absolutely delicious, well done!

  3. I agree, the marmalade was delicious! I loved the chunks of oranges in there, it's well worth all the boiling time. And such a great idea to make ice-cream out of the leftover ingredients! I suppose freezing them would also result in a nice ice-cream tian, i should've thought of that sooner! Great job on the challenge :D

  4. Mary - Thank you! I really was impressed with this one.

    Tea Factory - I love that the challenges are always a learning experience. Thank you!

    Anjelikuh - Orange chunks really are the best part of marmalade. I don't know how people can say they don't like it... Thank you!

  5. I wasn't fond of the orange marmalade before the challenge but I love it now :) And I love the sandwitch idea!

  6. Yours looks wonderful. The sandwich idea is great.

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love that you used the extra pate sablee to make ice cream sandwiches. Delicious.