There is no better time for clean, vivid citrus flavours than just as the winter starts to sets in. It is a time for orange zest in the air, which makes the heart sing – it brightens, refreshes and uplifts. And nowhere does it shine so bright as in a beautiful blood orange meringue tart.

Barely held together with a thin, crumbly shortcrust shell the thick, bittersweet orange curd is the star. Resist the temptation to add more sugar to the curd and enjoy the sweet-sharp shock of one of the most colourful winter fruit of winter.

Get the balance of silky sharpness and sweet creaminess right and you will have a tart worth talking about.

Blood Orange Meringue Tart

Serves 6

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 225 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 350 g cake flour
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Blood Orange Curd:

  • Blood Orange juice ½ cup
  • Lemon juice 1 T
  • Sugar 2/3 cup
  • Eggs 2
  • Cold Butter ½ cup

For the Meringue:

  • Egg whites 4
  • Sugar 3/4 cup

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

First make the pastry. Put the butter and flour in a food processor with a pinch of salt and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Or do this by rubbing the butter and flour together in a big bowl with your fingertips. Add the icing sugar and briefly whizz again or stir to combine.

Whisk the egg yolk with 2 tbsp cold water, and drizzle over the flour mixture. Use the pulse button to blend the mixture once more, keep going until it starts to form larger clumps. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more water a tsp or 2 at a time, but no more than 3 tsp in total.

Tip out onto a work surface and briefly knead the dough to bring it together into a smooth ball. Avoid overworking or it will become tough. Flatten the dough into a disc shape and wrap well in cling film. Chill for at least 30 mins, or for up to 2 days, or freeze for 2 months.

Dust the work surface with some flour and roll out pastry until 3 mm thickness. Roll dough onto rolling pin then invert onto tart pan. Quickly press down into sides. Use a pairing knife to cut the excess off. Use a fork to prick the pastry. Fill the tart shell with baking beans and blind bake for about 15 minutes. Take out of the oven, remove the baking beans and bake for another 2-3 minutes to ensure that the base is golden and flaky.

To make the filling place a pot with water over high heat and bring to the boil. Once it boils turn down to a simmer. Combine the blood orange juice, zest, lemon juice, sugar and eggs, in a bowl and place over the simmering water.   Whisk the mixture over the heat until it starts thickening (this will take about 10 minutes). The curd will start becoming paler and increase in volume. Add the butter a few cubes at a time and whisk into the curd. Once all the butter has been incorporated remove from the heat and whisk until all the butter is combined. Let it cool in the fridge covered with cling wrap. Once cold pour the curd into the pastry shell.

Lastly, make the meringue. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and place over the simmering water. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and egg whites are warm to the touch. Transfer to a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high until soft and billowy and stiff peaks form.

Finish the tart with a layer of meringue and torch to lightly colour the meringue.

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