Clementine Cream Tarts are a wonderfully light, citrusy dessert with a buttery walnut shortbread crust.
This is an interesting recipe. It’s basically a citrus curd that gets whipped up in a blender or food processor until it becomes an ethereally light pastry cream. The original recipe calls for lemon, but I’ve used clementines because pretty soon we’re going to blink and they’ll be gone for another year. Any citrus would work, but be warned: don’t try this with pomegranate. The color turns into a muddy beige when the red pomegranate mixes with the color from the egg yolks.
The flavor of this cream is very much like a Creamsicle. It’s not nearly as tart as the lemon version would be, so if you love a tart curd-like taste, go for the lemon original, or mix lemon juice with the clementine juice for added tang.
I have to say my batch turned out a little runnier than I anticipated, although the taste, especially with the walnut crust, was very nice.
Recipe slightly adapted from Baking with Dorie
- 1 cup sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 clementines
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice
- 2 sticks plus 5 tablespoons (21 tablespoons; 10 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces, finely ground
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Set up a double boiler. Get a digital thermometer and a blender or food processor ready.
- Put the sugar and zest into a saucepan and rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils in the zest and flavor the sugar.
- Whisk in the eggs, and then the juice. Whisk the mixture over simmering water until it reaches 180F. Whisk constantly so the eggs don't scramble. You will know it's ready when it thickens and turns glossy. This will take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how hot your water is and how close you set your saucepan to it.
- Take the pan off the heat and strain the mixture into the blender or processor. Discard the solids. Let it cool down to 140F.
- When it reaches 140F, turn on the machine and let it go while you steadily add the butter. Scrape down the sides of the machine, if necessary.
- When all the butter has been added, let the machine go for an additional 3 minutes.
- Pour the cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressed onto the surface of the cream.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Spoon the cream into cooled tart shells, and serve cold. You'll have some extra cream leftover, which is good because you won't be able to resist eating it with a spoon.
- For the crust, set oven to 325F
- Whisk the walnut meal, sugar and flour together.
- Work in the butter until the dough comes together.
- Press into 4 individual tart pans. Prick all over with a fork.
- Set the tart pans in the freezer while you clean up, about 10 minutes.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Cool and then remove from the pans before filling.