Orange Curd Puff Pastry Tartlets

by feastonthecheap on June 7, 2011

Mariel here. This past weekend, one of my bffs from college took the long walk down a short aisle, marrying another friend of mine in one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever attended. Everything was perfect – perfect weather, perfect Lela Rose dress, perfect yachty Montauk backdrop, perfect sunny-and-75 weather, which can be a real crap-shoot on the eastern tip of Long Island. Even the cake was perfect, so perfect that I thought the intricately sculpted, shockingly lifelike fondant flowers were in fact real and, to demonstrate their realness, I touched one. It was fake. And I was mortified. It was exactly the type of wedding that leaves you wishing you could relive yours all over again – and possibly hire the same baker.

After bidding adieu to the last out-of-town friend and returning to a preternaturally quiet house, I was struck by a crippling case of the Sunday blues. There was no Bravo TV marathon that could get me over the hump so I decided to do what any self-respecting sugar addict does, and bake myself happy. I spent one blissful hour perusing my mother-in-law’s various old timey cookbooks – real hardbound books and everything! – and stumbled across Ina Garten’s recipe for Lime Curd. I’ve been riding the lime train hard recently, so I elected to switch up my citrus by making an orange-y treat and then house the filling in delightful little puff pastry shells.

Let me just tell you, this happy little puff kicked my blues right to the curb, replacing it with a wondrous sugar high that kept the good times rolling until I passed out at 9PM. These tartlets are incredibly easy and so pretty to behold that they’d make ideal desserts for a bridal shower or afternoon party. I suspect they’ll become regular additions to our catering lineup. I made these both as tartlets, which can be eaten with a spoon, and as mini puff pastry bites (pictured above). The curd is incredibly versatile, so if puff pastry eludes you, spoon it onto mini waffles, into pre-baked tart shells or spread it on top of a scone for a breakfast treat.

As a side note, you’ll need a good zester for this recipe since it calls for quite a bit of rind. Up until recently, I had an old fashioned knuckle-grater, the kind that infuses every dish with just a soupcon of skin as it tears apart your hands. That all changed when I stumbled across Edgeware zesters and graters. I know what you’re thinking – who gives a hoot, they’re all the same. But they’re not, these are so much better, so much smarter, so much friendlier to your baby-soft hands. I highly recommend investing in one – or all – and to get you started, I contacted the company and asked if they’d be interested in participating in a giveaway with us. They’ve kindly put together a dreamy package that includes a zester and various graters in fine, coarse and extra coarse grains.

Here’s how to win it (GIVEAWAY CLOSED – Congrats to Cindy B!):
1. Swing by Edgeware.com and let us know what other utensil you need the most

Bonus Entries (leave an extra comment for each, and if you already do any of the following, let us know, you’ll get credit!):
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Giveaway ends Monday June 27, 2011. Open to US residents only. Listed on Giveaway Scout

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Orange Curd Puff Pastry Tartlets
Makes about 12 Tartlets or 40 Bites
Yields about 1½ cups of Orange Curd

Ingredients:
½-cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (you’ll need about 3 medium-size oranges for this recipe) – $1.50
2 heaping Tablespoons of orange zest, separated (be mindful of not zesting the bitter white pith, you just want the very top layer of rind) – calculated above
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature – stock
¾-cup of sugar – stock
4 large eggs – stock
sprinkle of salt – stock
1 package of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets or 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells (the generic kind just doesn’t puff as nicely) – $5.79
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $7.29
Cost per tartlet: $0.60
Cost per bite: $0.18

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep and bake the puff pastry according to package directions then cool on wire racks. If you’re using the pastry sheets to make bite-size treats, use a cookie cutter or knife to carve out 1-inch wide circles or squares.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar and 1½ Tablespoons of orange zest until fluffy and pale. Crack each egg into a cup then add the eggs, one by one, until fully incorporated (cracking them into the cup will help keep any accidentally broken eggshells out of your curd). Slowly add the orange juice until well-combined and smooth.

3. Pour the orange curd into a big saucepan and heat over low to medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t allow to boil. The curd will start to thicken and become very creamy, then you know you’re done. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

4. Spoon the orange curd into the baked puff pastry shells or onto the puff pastry bites. Garnish with remaining orange zest and serve warm or at room temperature.