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Black Sesame Orange Tart

What better to do with a Saturday afternoon than to hole up in your kitchen for several hours experimenting?

It all started with my relatively simple idea to actually practice some of what I learn in school on my own time and in my own kitchen, but then as all ideas I have tend to do, it quickly snowballed as it encountered the semi-jilted feeling I had of not having my recommendation to use black sesame in an entremets be well received. One thought led to another, and before I knew it I was dragging three bags of groceries home filled with more butter and eggs than any normal person would consume in an entire week, and I was ready to go.

Even when I started baking though, I can’t say that I really knew what it was that I would be making. I knew the elements and I thought of ways I might combine and shape them into creating one dessert…but it wasn’t until about an hour into the process that I had an ‘ah ha!’ moment and finally understood the concept my brain had been blindly leading me towards.

Basically I started by making a sanded dough, which I pre-baked then filled with black sesame almond cream (and I also made a regular almond cream for half of the tarts both for practice and comparison), which I baked again, cooled, and then topped with a whipped orange creameux and a vanilla creme patissiere.

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Since I manage to be both incredibly organized and also surprisingly unprepared, I brought basically all my baking tools with me from Minnesota…but didn’t think to bring my scale to measure my ingredients. So a very important (and time wasting) part of this baking day was taking all the nicely weighed out ingredients in all my recipes and using my computer to approximately calculate what that would be in cups and tablespoons…and then randomly adding in pinches (and sometimes handfuls) of other ingredients when the texture didn’t quite seem to add up.

So lets everyone promise not to tell my Chef about that, okay? And I’ll just go take myself to Target and find a cheap scale so I can more properly bake something next weekend 😛

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I think if I changed anything, it would be to add fresh orange segments or perhaps a marmalade of sorts on top of the sesame cream layer and before the creameux layer to add in some freshness, color and flavor. Also if I were going to make this for another human being (and not to eat on my couch in my pajamas while skyping a friend overseas :P) I might put in a little more effort and create a sesame tuile or some dried orange decorations or some such thing. However, as I did this as an experiment, I don’t think it turned out too shabby at all.

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If you are partial to more vibrant colors, you could add in some colorant to the orange creameux–however I like the more natural vibe and let all the ingredients shine through with their natural colors.

Now on to the recipe! (which I am going to write in grams because it really is the more intelligent way to write and read a recipe…so if you don’t have a scale to weigh your ingredients, either go buy one or find a trusty site and put aside some time to calculate the volume of the ingredients in cups)

Black Sesame Orange Tart

Sanded Dough

45g sugar
1 egg yolk
70g butter
3g baking powder
pinch salt
orange zest (to taste)
90g flour

Directions:

1) Soften the butter with your hands against a table or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the sugar and mix well.
2) Combine the salt and baking powder with the flour and slowly incorporate into the butter mixture.
3) Add in the egg yolk and then the zest.
4) Form the dough into a rectangle, wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
5) When ready to use, roll out the dough to 1/8″ thick, cut circles to fit into your tart molds, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Black Sesame Almond Cream

60g butter, room temperature
30g sugar
1 egg
60g ground black sesame
50g ground almonds
15g flour

Directions:

1) Beat the butter until smooth, then add in the sugar and continue to blend.
2) Add in your egg, then one at a time add in the sesame, almonds and flour. If the mixture looks too liquid, add in additional sesame or almonds (depending on the size of your egg this may be necessary due to the possible increase in liquid).
3) Place the mixture into a piping bag and let it rest in the refrigerator until ready to use.
4) Cut the tip of the piping bag then pipe the cream into the base of the pre-cooked tart shells, then return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until the cream sets up.
5) Let the tarts cool completely.

Vanilla Creme Pâtissiere

65g cream
65g milk
2 egg yolks
30g sugar
15g custard powder
10g maizena
8g butter
1 vanilla bean
100g cream, whipped

Directions:

**This is just a basic creme pâtissiere! But in case you don’t know what that means, let me explain it step by step, and then the next time you see the title ‘creme pâtissiere’ you will know EXACTLY what to do!**

1) Bring the cream, milk, butter and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan.
2) Whip the sugar and egg yolks until they lighten in color, then add in the custard powder and maizena and whip again.
3) Pour the now boiling cream over the egg yolk mixture and whisk well before returning to the pan over medium heat. Continue to whisk for about one minute until the mixture comes to a boil, thickens, and no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan.
4) Transfer to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it chill for about 30 minutes before slowly whisking in the whipped cream. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a small star tip and leave in the refrigerator until ready to use.
5) When the tarts are cooled, pipe alternating dots of the vanilla cream and the orange cream.

Orange Creameux

140g orange juice
4 egg yolks
40g sugar
50g butter
1g salt
2 gelatin sheets, bloomed in cold water
orange zest & orange aroma, to taste
150g cream, whipped

Directions:

1) Bring the orange juice (and zest and aroma if using) to a boil.
2) Whip the yolks and sugar until they lighten in color, and pour in the boiling juice.
3) Return to the pan and whisk constantly for about 5-8 minutes. Take off the heat and add in the butter, salt and gelatin. Place in a bowl and refrigerate.
4) When the mixture is cool and has set up, whisk again to smoothen out the cream, then carefully fold in the whipped cream.
5) When ready to use, place in a piping bag with a large or medium tip and pipe in alternating dots with the vanilla cream.

Decorations and Finishing Recommendations

Zest an orange over the top of the tarts and sprinkle over some whole black sesame seeds
–If you are looking for something with a bit more ‘finish’ and certainly hight, try making a sesame tuile or drying out some thin orange slices in the oven, or perhaps adding some orange segments to the top of the tart or between the almond cream and vanilla/orange creams.

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