Luscious Blood Orange Bars with a Brown Butter Crust

by on January 16, 2013

It’s this time of year that we start enjoying margaritas, particularly blood orange margaritas and meyer lemon margaritas. Aside from the fact that the holidays are over and our New Years celebrations have officially ended, we’re just beginning to relish in these wonderful cocktails. Why? Whats the occasion? Well, it’s peak citrus season in our neck of the garden-woods, of course.

Though it’s freezing outside and we often wake up to frost on our roofs, all our citrus are still hanging on firm to their branches. When the sun peaks through the clouds in the middle of the day, the citrus get their daily sun bathing sessions to sweeten up their juices and develop their flavors. And what we have before us are bucket loads of blood oranges, mandarins, juicing tangerines, limes and lemons that need to be juiced. Yup, we’re super spoiled. That’s what geeky-gardeners like to do: grow almost 20 citrus trees to feast on during January.

Now that we’ve gloated about our crazy citrus trees, really, what do with a ton of blood oranges? The flavors of these blood red oranges are so perfectly tangy/sweet. The drippy juices are sexy and luscious, so the first thing that comes to mind is making a variation off our meyer lemon bars using they blood oranges. We’ll… to be honest, it was the second or third thought. There were a couple cocktails which came to mind first. But back to the bars… The thought of making these bars with fresh blood orange juice sounded so wonderful and we were hoping that the results would go beyond our theory.

Fingers crossed, we were hoping this first batch would be the on the money because there’s nothing more sacrilegious than to waste 2 cups of fresh blood orange juice. This nectar is what the Greek Gods fought for! ( or at least something close to that mythology).

The results were incredible. What you see before you are some truly luscious, silky, delicious and amazing blood orange bars.

Make them.

Right Away.

If you can get your hand on a generous amount of blood oranges for juicing, this should be one of the first recipes you bake.

Valentines day is coming near and if you’re in a bind as to what to make for your sweetheart, these blood orange bars are perfect to show your love. Really, who needs chocolate? Well, ok, chocolate is a great offering. But mix it up a bit. Be daring, different and break some sweetheart rules and offer a platter of these lovely bars. Your love won’t be disappointed.

Next on the agenda is another variation on this curd for Valentines Day. Again, fingers crossed our next experiment will turn out equally wonderful. If not, we have some back up chocolate sauce to drizzle over what ever were making!

Happy January to you all.

Blood Orange Bars w/ Brown Butter Crust

Yield: 12 3"x4" Bars

Total Time: 1 hour

The recipe is enough to make the bars in a 1/4 sheet pan (9"x13") , however we know for most, blood oranges can be a bit expensive so a reduced recipe may be a better option. The recipe works perfect to halve it and make the bars in a 4"x14" tart pan (that is what was used in the photos) or made into individual tarts in 3" or 4" pans. Or you can always substitute in some tangerine juice for the blood orange juice. The color will pale more towards the orange side, but it will still be delicious. Promise. Also, make sure to taste the sweetness of the curd as you are making it. Blood oranges can vary quite a bit on their sweetness, so adjust the sugar quantities to your desired taste.


Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (225g) unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) Sugar
  • 3 cups (375g) Flour
  • 1/2 t (3g) Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Blood Orange Curd Ingredients - makes @6 cups

  • 1/4 cup (40g) Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup (300g) Sugar
  • 1 t (5g) Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 12 Eggs, beaten
  • 4 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • zest of 6 Blood Oranges
  • 2 1/2 cups (600ml) Blood Orange Juice
  • 1/2 pound (225g) cold, unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2" pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside a 9"x13" 1/4 sheet pan.

  1. Make the crust. Put butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Continue cooking the butter until it develops an amber color and begins to smell a bit "toasted nut-like". Remove from heat and stir sugar into butter until mostly dissolved.
  2. Put flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in butter and sugar and mix until completely incorporated (it will be a crumbly texture). Press mixture into the 1/4 sheet pan, working the dough up the sides of the pan and evenly across the bottom.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
  4. While the crust bakes, make the curd. Whisk together the cornstarch, sugar and the salt in a bowl. Mix in the eggs, zest, and juice. Place bowl over a pot with gently boiling water (cook over a bain marie).
  5. Cook over the bain marie, stirring frequently until the curd has thickened. Remove from heat and then, a few pieces at a time, stir in the butter until it is completely incorporated. Strain curd through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Pour the curd into the cooked crust as soon as you take it out of the oven. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the filling has thickened. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Cut into desired pieces and serve chilled.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trysha January 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Could that color be any more gorgeous? Beautiful.


2 Averie @ Averie Cooks January 17, 2013 at 1:05 am

I can’t even believe the gorgeous-ness of them! WOW! If I could pin them a hundred times over, I would. Or reach through the screen and eat one now, I would! I just made lemon bars and have tons of grapefruit to use. I want to skip those grapefruit and just use blood oranges now!


3 Jen @ Savory Simple January 17, 2013 at 2:19 am

These are stunning!


4 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel January 17, 2013 at 6:00 am

Absolutely gorgeous! One of these days I need to get my hands on some meyer lemons and blood oranges… I haven’t had either!


5 Rachel {studio cuisine} January 17, 2013 at 6:23 am

I obviously need to track down blood oranges so I can make these bars. The color is simply BEYOND gorgeous.


6 Kelley {mountain mama cooks} January 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

These are so gorgeous! I just saw meyer lemons at our Whole Foods this past week. I love the winter citrus and you’ve inspired me to start using them. Now to decide on how!!!


7 harveys mom January 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

They look so delicious, I’m gonna make them right now. I live in Santa Ana and had no idea the Blood Oranges are ready now. I usually wait until March or April before using them. We have so many this year and the the big winds of last week knocked a lot of them off the tree, perfect to use.
Thanks for the recipe!!! Stay warm and pet the pups for me.


8 White on Rice Couple January 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Just one of our two trees has started giving off good fruit. The other is probably a month or so away from being ready. March and April will definitely be prime time!


9 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 17, 2013 at 8:40 am

Oh my goodness, these are gorgeous!


10 thelittleloaf January 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

Beautiful beautiful tarts. The colour from those oranges is gorgeous!


11 Abbe@This is How I Cook January 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

Totally envious. My parents used to have an orange grove behind their home in Arizona. I wish one could bottle the smell of those blossoms. And taste them, too! Though you seemed to capture it quite well! Thanks for the beauty.


12 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious January 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

I know they taste amazing but that color is out of this world! I tried looking for blood oranges recently and couldn’t find them anywhere :(


13 White on Rice Couple January 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

We have two trees and only one of them is just now starting to drop ripe fruit. They will hitting the markets soon! Promise!


14 Terri Hinojosa January 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

gorgeous photos! The orange color is so amazing. Thanks for sharing. Terri


15 Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas January 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

Todd and Diane, this is truly one of the coolest recipes I have ever seen! So brilliant to do blood orange curd instead of lemon.


16 Christine January 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Is straining the curd absolutely necessary? What if you don’t have a mesh strainer?


17 White on Rice Couple January 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm

It isn’t 100% necessary but it does help to make the curd have a better texture. Usually there will be a little bit of the egg which doesn’t get completely smooth plus there is the zest I prefer to strain out. Everything will still set fine, it is just better after straining.


18 Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Beautiful bars! I just made Meyer lemon bars with a brown butter crust and it made all the difference!


19 tracy {pale yellow} January 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Last year I made blood orange margaritas for the first time and they were amazing, I can’t wait to try these blood orange bars.


20 Melissa @ Bless This Mess January 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Just. So. Pretty. Natural Valentine treat coloring = the blood orange. That’s up my alley!


21 Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking January 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Stunning as usual! I need to get my hands on some blood oranges.


22 @katherinepeters January 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm



23 Bec January 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

this looks so good! and amazing colour! I’m sooo making this! :)


24 head in the sun January 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I recently made a similar coloured curd from ripe gooseberries –
So pretty.
Can’t wait to try the brown butter crust.


25 Liz@HoosierHomemade January 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I definitely need to add these to my list, I’ve never tried them. Gorgeous photos, as always! I’m off to pin!


26 Herbivore Triathlete January 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I am speechless. These are gorgeous! I adore lemon bars and am a huge fan of blood oranges. The color is beautiful.


27 Laura Dembowski January 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Those are beautiful and would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. I am so jealous you have citrus trees. One of my main goals right now is to move somewhere warm and have fruit trees.


28 @savvyjulie January 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

These blood orange bars are GORGEOUS. Love this color!


29 Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up January 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

Seriously these are G O R G E O U S. I want to eat the computer screen.


30 Jennifer @ Delicieux January 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

What gorgeous bars! I absolutely adore blood oranges. I can’t wait for blood orange season here to give this recipe a try.


31 Laura @FoodSnobSTL January 19, 2013 at 6:04 am

These are so beautiful! The color reminds me of pink lemonade.


32 Lisa Cornely January 19, 2013 at 6:33 am

I just got my hands on some beautiful blood oranges to days ago and was looking for a dessert recipe. Your bars look delicious. Can’t wait to bake them today. Glad I found your site also.


33 Katie January 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I halved the recipe, but my curd turned out decidedly orange even though I used all blood-oranges. The only thing I can think of is that I used too many eggs, but since the whole recipe above says 12 eggs and 4 egg yolks, I used 6 eggs and 2 yolks. Is this right?


34 White on Rice Couple January 19, 2013 at 5:49 pm

You halved it correctly. I’ve had that happen to me once in testing out the recipe. Some of the blood oranges have a deeper color that comes out better than others in the curd. That’s the best I can understand it.


35 Katie January 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Hmm, that’s so odd! Not as pretty, but hopefully it will taste as good. :) Thank you for replying so quickly!


36 Sarah January 31, 2013 at 8:23 pm

The same thing happened to me (though I didn’t halve the recipe). The juice was dark red. The bars are light orange. Sad. Oh well. As long as they taste good, I’m ok with it. :) Thanks for the recipe.


37 White on Rice Couple January 31, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We must be growing freak blood oranges. We tested it three times and each time came out more or less like in photos. Hope you love the taste at least. Krista’s suggestion might be a good idea to help get the deeper color to stick. Thanks for sharing!



38 Katherines Corner January 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I love visiting your beautiful and delicious blog xo


39 Paurvi January 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I was lucky enough to receive some blood oranges yesterday, and made these bars today. They were a big hit! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I love visiting your blog, beautiful photography and amazing recipes.


40 Cookin Canuck January 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm

The color is stunning! And the brown butter crust? Um yeah, heavenly.


41 Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence January 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Blood oranges and brown butter are two of my favorite things :)


42 Rachel @ Bakerita January 23, 2013 at 8:22 am

These are stunning!! I LOVE blood oranges, but I definitely need to save some to make these bars. And brown butter crust? Drooling.


43 Diane {Created by Diane} January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am

oh these are just stunning!


44 King January 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I made these last night and my coloring looks a lot more like pumpkin than the color you achieved. The juice was gorgeous prior to the cooking process, but not so great on the final product. Any hints?


45 White on Rice Couple January 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hello Kelly- Not sure why, but if it’s orange colored, it might be because your egg yolks were very yellow or rich. Many egg yolks vary in color, so that’s the only reason we could think of that would cause the curd to overtake the blood orange color. And blood oranges colors vary quite a bit. If you look at one of our process shots, the juice that came out of our blood oranges was reddish-pink.


46 Krista January 26, 2013 at 8:02 am

I made this last night and it was DELICIOUS! My only complaint is that mine didn’t turn out nearly as pink as your pictures! I halved the recipe, but my tart ended up being more of a light peach color. Next time I might add a drop or two of food coloring to get a more appealing color. Thanks for the yummy recipe!


47 Amanda February 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

Beautiful! I had never had a blood orange… but man you sure are tempting me! :)


48 Georgie February 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

In the process of making these right now! The zesting and juicing is a pain and very time consuming as I am juicing with a lemon/lime squeezer that uses a cover that does not exactly fit over the oranges. I’m definetly getting out most of the juice from the oranges, but do not have anywhere near the right amount this recipe calls for. Disappointing because I will have to put everything on hold and run up to Wegmans to purchase about 10-12 more oranges just to get the 2 1/2 cups. I just wish I would have known how many oranges I would have needed. Hoping these pretty babies are indeed absolutely heavenly because I don’t know that I will go through the trouble of making them again! Taste review to come.


49 White on Rice Couple February 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm

We went back and forth over whether to say how many blood oranges make 2 1/2 cups since the sizes and juice amount can vary so much. We are lucky to have incredible trees and know most people won’t be able to get the same. By our blood oranges, it took 3 pounds of blood oranges to get 2 1/2 cups, but how efficient you juice them makes a big difference. I can’t believe you tried using a hand squeezer to get that much of any juice. Those are great for one or two limes or lemons, but aren’t very efficient for much more. Even a $4 citrus juicer where you press down on it and it catches the juice at the bottom would be much better. Hope you loved them, regardless of the journey.


50 Jennifer February 7, 2013 at 8:09 am

I love blood oranges. They’re just so yummy. But I’ve tried to make these bars twice and both times my color just wasn’t nearly as vibrant as yours. They tasted yummy, but I was hoping for a bright pink color. I may try Krista’s suggestion. Thanks for this awesome idea.


51 White on Rice Couple February 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

It looks like that is the running consensus about the color. Seems our tree was a bit freakish, in a good way. Our second blood orange tree is just now ripening up so we’ll have to see what happens with that tree. Glad they are yummy!


52 Andrea @ eattravelbliss February 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm

LOVE blood orange – haven’t seen many recipes to take advantage of them, so these look gorgeous. Must try. Thanks!


53 Sarah@mommypretty February 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Love the colors in the photos!


54 Christine February 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

The photos look amazing. I was hoping for these to turn out. They turned out to basically be a pale orange-colored egg custard that only had a hint of orange taste to them. I even used a little less egg (10 eggs, 4 yolks). The crust turned out perfect and was really tasty. Maybe if I give these another go, I’ll use even less egg.


55 White on Rice Couple February 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

A lot of people have had the same problem with the color. I think our garden trees have a color that somehow holds up better after baking. And the orange was very prominent in the taste, again I think due to the fresh picked oranges. I would increase the fresh zest or try to find some blood oranges that when you scratch them, the oils will be easy visible. Maybe increase the amount of zest. For the color, the best may be to add a touch of red food coloring. I think ours were just freakish in their color.


56 Abbey March 1, 2013 at 8:00 am

Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I made these last weekend and I achieved a very vibrant red/pink color like yours. Used blood oranges from the Laguna Beach farmers market. I loved the recipe- very impressive. Thanks!


57 White on Rice Couple March 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Awesome. It must just be our So Cal blood oranges are rockin the color. Thanks for letting me know we weren’t crazy for getting the color like it was. So glad you loved the recipe!



58 Megan March 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I don’t now how many times I’ve stared at these – but they slay me every time. I can’t stop thinking about them. Beautiful.


59 Judy March 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

this is the very first time that i’ve seen blood orange used like that! you did such a pretty job with the presentation too. i’m inspired!


60 Sasha March 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I made these today because I love blood oranges and the color is so gorgeous in the photo that I thought it would be a pretty dessert for Easter. The taste of the curd is nice and I think the tart will taste good but the color is not remotely like the picture. Mine are a very unappetizing light orange/pumpkin color although the juice from the oranges was a deep red. Was food dye added to those in the photo?


61 White on Rice Couple March 31, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Hi Sasha. Sorry your color didn’t come out as you expected. There have been several discussions about that in the comments. It seems to vary depending on the blood oranges. We didn’t add coloring but for a more reliable color, it seems to be the consensus that it may be the best way to go.


62 Angie @ Big Bear's Wife April 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

I love the beautiful color in the bars!


63 Donna April 9, 2013 at 1:36 am

Just made these yesterday evening….I even purchased the loose-bottomed (wait…are we talking about me or?!) tart pan….The aroma from the crust baking was stunning…Truly perfection crust…although I let it brown a tad too much for my liking..Since the butter is already browned…and oven temps run differently…I should warn other readers to keep an eye on it…especially since it will need to bake an additional 15 minutes WITH the filling…

Now about that filling…very tasty..but yes..using orange deep red sanguinella oranges decidedly did not produce the gorgeous pinkish hue you achieved. Also..I think perhaps indeed the the egg yolks play a huge role in turning this into a more custardy/flan with orange/pumpkin “mouth feel” than I would have imagined…still delicious!…but I think I was really hoping for more of a blood orange LEMON CURD type texture…I would follow Christine’s lead and significantly reduce the egg factor next time. Our eggs in France have extremely orange/deep-hued yolks…which may play in the color outcome. Also…next time I’m going to start the curd process prior to baking the it took me FOREVER (30 minutes of stirring) for correct thickening to occur..and the crust had been out of the oven and cooled off before the hot filling ever met the crust!…I also seemed to have at least an extra cup of filling left over from filling the tart pan…but, of course, this is delicious and nice to serve with scones at brunch!

Sorry…but one last thought…I actually was able to bring back the rose-y blood orange hue by adding in cherry preserves prior to straining the curd/custard filling! I did not wish to use artificial coloring..and I’m thinking pomegranite juice would do the trick as well!

Thank you for this inspiring/inspired recipe and this superlative browned butter crust which will be my new go-to recipe for many tarts to come.


64 Katy @ Katy's Kitchen April 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

This is such a unique idea. I haven’t really thought of straying from the classic lemon bar, but I love the colour that those blood oranges add to the bars.


65 White on Rice Couple April 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thanks Katy.
As you might have seen in the other comments, the color will vary quite a bit. With our first batches they came out this color, but recently when we have made them, it has been more peachy/orange. Some will add a bit of red coloring, beet juice, or possibly pomegranate juice to get it more red. No matter the color, they are super delicious.



66 Mairead Kahn April 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm


Your food looks absolutely amazing, and the photography is outstanding! I am a high school student with a passion for photography and I am looking to gain experience in food photography. Do you have any tips? If you would like to see my work you can visit my photo blog:

Thank you!


67 Lillian June 19, 2013 at 10:34 pm

That is the most beautiful coloured tart I’ve ever seen! What beautiful photographs


68 Sylwia February 18, 2014 at 1:25 am

look fantastic, I must bake one :)


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