A Thanksgiving tart and moving into citrus season

Thanksgiving is now behind us, and we look ahead to the upcoming weeks of December holidays and festivities.

This time of year I start thinking about citrus - all the lovely oranges and grapefruit that come to us from warmer climes.  There's the Cara Cara orange (a lovely pink fleshed navel), the blood orange and the standard navel orange.  And let's not forget tangelos, tangerines and clementines.  Nothing like a bunch of Vitamin C, right?!

As Thanksgiving approached I debated what I wanted to make for dessert to follow the classic American turkey-and-all-the-fixins meal.  Would it be a caramel nut tart or perhaps apple-cranberry or pumpkin ginger?  No - this year I opted for something citrus!

citrus browned butter cream tart

This tart is based on a recipe from Fine Cooking magazine some years ago.  Basically a blind baked pâte sucrée crust filled with browned butter pastry cream and topped with fresh citrus.  What's not to like?

I used my favorite pâte d'amande dough for the crust (I happened to have some in the freezer which made it an all the more attractive option).

lining the tart ring

all lined and ready for blind baking

baked and cooling - just waiting for the pastry cream

The filling is a pretty standard pastry cream made with milk, sugar, egg, cornstarch and, in my case, some added orange zest and vanilla bean seeds.  Yes!  Oh - and some browned butter added at the end of cooking.

les ingredients

In general I like to lighten pastry cream with a little whipped cream, so once my pastry cream was made, I chilled it in the fridge before whipping up a little cream and folding it in.

ready to fold and fill

all filled up

I segmented navel oranges and red grapefruit . . . .

and after drying the segments on paper towel, I did a practice layout . . . .

before the final assembly.

Et voila!

all assembled and ready to transport

We had a delicious Thanksgiving feast at cousin Garrett and his wife Laurie's home in nearby Rockford MI.  We took a break after dinner for some games and chit-chat, and, when it came time for dessert, enjoyed Laurie's pecan and pumpkin pies along with the bright taste of citrus and the smooth creaminess of the vanilla-orange crème pâtissière.

All in all a great day!