Blood Orange Sumac Tart
Yesterday was a snow day. All previous plans got averted due to nearly a foot of snow. I had thought that I'd use the extra time to work on some writing projects. But in the end, I realized that Mamma N. was giving me a big fat message - I was supposed to use the unexpected free time to revel in what may be some of the last cozy snowflakey moments of spring.
Instead of working, I did a lot of neighborhood shoveling, made a snowman with the neighbor kids, and took a long walk in the blinding snow. I tried hard to appreciate the beauty of the land with a white blanket thrown over it, the feeling of the blood moving through my extremities as I struggled to walk on paths drifted knee high, and the sensation of wind peppering snow into my face. I also thought about the most miserably hot days of last summer, and how I longed for the joys of snow.
Spring arrives in fits and starts here. Or at least, it does in the good years. March is usually the snowiest month of the year. Last year, we didn't receive so much as a spec of precipitation in March, and it set up one of the most devastating fire seasons on record. Although this March has been generous with snow, we've still not managed to pull out of drought conditions. It makes each snow storm feel all the more precious.
It is really lovely to experience snow storms and 70 degree days all in one week. Just a few days ago, I picked my first greens of the season. The landscape is still largely barren and winter-brown. But with some effort, I was able to come home with enough dock, dandelions, and wild onion greens to fill a brown paper lunch bag.
|Isn't it just dandy?|
|Curly dock leaves emerging|
|Dock, dandelion, and wild onion greens|
Then, overnight, the world looked like this.
|Robins feeding on crab apples during spring snow storm|
|Looking up through Blue Spruce boughs|
|Kitteh thought he wanted to go out, but quickly changed his mind|
|My garden marker in the snow|
In addition to spending some time cozied under a blanket with kitteh reading a book, I also baked like a mad woman on my snow day. I'm not known for enjoying baked goods, so this was an extraordinary day. It certainly yielded an extraordinary amount of dishes to wash. But I also ended up with banana bread, blueberry muffins, and a batch of cast-iron cornbread to go with the night's bean soup.
|Lovin' from the oven|
Finally, there was dessert, a tart so bright and tangy with blood orange, lemon, and sumac that it earned being called a tart. I had thought the combination of blood orange juice, lemon juice, and egg yolks would turn the tart pink, but it came out rather orange (perhaps due to those high-quality orange-yolked farm eggs). The filling was nicely contrasted by the lightly sweet crunch of a pine nut crust.
Blood Orange Sumac Tart
1 batch of blood orange curd made using this recipe that I posted a few years ago. Substitute a combination of blood orange and lemon juice for the called for 2/3 c. lemon juice. Also, add 1 tsp ground sumac and 1 tsp. blood orange zest to the curd, and strain it out through a sieve after the blood orange sumac curd has cooked.
1/3 batch of pine nut crust, from this Epicurious recipe via Bouchon. I substituted my own gluten-free flour blend into this recipe. Also, the directions on the Epicurious site recommend making a full batch, and freezing 2/3 because the full recipe only calls for one egg. I didn't have nearly enough pine nuts to make the full recipe. So I put my egg into a cup, beat it with a fork, and used what looked to be about 1/3 of it for the crust, saving aside the rest of the egg to eat with breakfast.
1. Butter and flour a 9" tart pan.
2. Press the chilled pine nut dough evenly into the tart pan. Run a rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim any excess dough and make for a neat presentation.
3. Bake the crust in a 350 degree (F) oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it is evenly golden. Remove the pine nut crust from the oven and let it cool while you are making the blood orange sumac curd.
4. While it is still warm, pour the cooked blood orange sumac curd directly into the cooled pine nut crust, and smooth the top with a spatula.
5. Let the tart cool to room temperature. You can either serve it at room temperature, or chilled.