Luscious Blood Orange Bars with a Brown Butter Crust

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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