Modern recipes focus on what is fresh, what is local, and what is both beautiful and delicious. Modern foodies no longer take their ingredients hidden or masked, but prefer to let ingredients like fresh produce shine for themselves. One blog we love who really gets this modern way of cooking right is husband and wife duo, Todd Porter and Diane Cu, the “White on Rice Couple.“
Todd and Diane, with their backgrounds as pro food stylists and photographers, are perfecting the fresh and local recipe trend. In their new cookbook Bountiful, they follow the innate knowledge of nature, picking each individual ingredient for its dimensionality and structure. Each recipe invites us to taste food in a whole new way. Reading Bountiful is an active experience, full of produce-picking and thoughtful perspectives that make us look twice at what’s for dinner.
These seasonal blood orange bars are the perfect recipe for mid-October. Todd and Diane’s recipe maintains the vibrancy of the fruit’s color while building upon the foundation of a classic dessert. The sweet yet tart flavor of the orange plays off the rich quality of the crust, both echoing and amplifying one another. As delicious as they are beautiful, these bars deserve to be your centerpiece dessert this fall! Here’s more from the couple on how to make these gorgeous treats…
The recipe is enough to make the bars in a quarter-sheet pan, however, we know for most, blood oranges can be a bit expensive, so a reduced recipe may be a better option. The recipe works perfectly if you halve it and make the bars in a four-by fourteen-inch tart pan (the size used in the photos), or use individual three- or four-inch tart pans. Or you can always substitute in some tangerine juice for the blood orange juice. The color will pale more toward 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. Enjoy!
Blood Orange Bars With A Brown Butter Crust
makes 12 (3-by-4-inch / 7.5-by-10-cm) bars
For the Brown Butter Crust:
½ pound (225g) unsalted butter, organic
½ cup (100g) sugar
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
For the Blood Orange Curd:
¼ cup (30g) cornstarch
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
12 eggs, beaten
4 egg yolks, beaten
Zest of 6 blood oranges
2 ½ cups (600ml) fresh blood orange juice
½ pound (225g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. Make the brown butter crust: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. The butter will foam up initially but then settle down. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the solids begin to separate and brown and the liquids turn a light brown color. The browned butter should have a nutty, toasty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar until mostly dissolved.
3. Put flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and sugar mixture and mix until completely incorporated (the mixture will have a crumbly texture). Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a rimmed 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) sheet pan.
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
5. Make the blood orange curd: Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil and place a heatproof bowl over the saucepan to make a double boiler.
6. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Mix in the eggs, egg yolks, blood orange zest, and blood orange juice. Place the mixture in the bowl of the double boiler and cook, stirring frequently, until the curd has thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until it is completely incorporated. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
7. As soon as you take the crust out of the oven, pour the blood orange curd on top of it. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the filling has thickened. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool, place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
8. Cut into bars and serve chilled.