Vegan Blood Orange Tart Recipe

This vegan blood orange tart recipe came from a craving. I love blood oranges; their sweet, raspberry-ish tang and stunning colours, and wanted to create something that would really let them shine. I am so pleased with how this tart came out: the pastry is short and buttery, and the filling is just the right amount of tart-and-juicy sweetness. It’s much easier to make than it looks, too, which is always a bonus!

A word on ingredients: it’s best to use one of the blocks of dairy-free butter for the pastry if possible, as they set harder when chilled. Agar may seem a finicky ingredient, especially as you use so little of it, but don’t be tempted to skip – it’s a powerful setting agent that gives the filling its structure. If you plan to do more vegan baking it’s a great ingredient to have in the cupboard!

Ingredients:
For the pastry
– 220g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
– 1 tsp caster sugar
– 160g dairy-free butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
– 2-3 tbsp cold water

For the filling
– 1 tbsp (10g) cornflour
– 1 tsp (2g) agar agar
– 250ml dairy-free double cream (I like Oatly)
– 8 blood oranges, zested and juiced (you need 300ml juice)
– 1 lemon, juiced
– 125g caster sugar

For the decoration
– 75g caster sugar
– 1 blood orange, thinly sliced
– fresh thyme sprigs

  1. For the pastry, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture is sandy and resembles breadcrumbs. Add just enough water to bring the mixture into a dough, then shape into a disc and wrap in clingfilm. Transfer to the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Grease a 23cm tart tin. Roll out the chilled pastry on a floured worktop to about 3mm thick, then loosely wrap it around the rolling pin to drape it over and into the tin, pressing it into the corners and into the sides. Roll the rolling pin over the tin to trim the pastry, then press into the sides once more (the pasty should reach just higher than the tin). Return to the fridge to chill again for 20 mins. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  3. Use a fork to prick small holes all over the pastry base. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Cut away any excess pastry with a sharp knife then leave the tart case to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make the candied orange decoration. Put the sugar in a saucepan with 75ml water and heat gently to dissolve, then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the orange slices in a single layer. Simmer for 10 mins, turning occasionally, then carefully transfer to a sheet of greaseproof paper. Set aside for at least 1 hour to set.
  5. To make the tart filling, mix the cornflour and agar in a heatproof bowl and whisk in a splash of the cream; set aside. Put the blood orange zest and juice in a saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar and remaining cream. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer. Pour about a third of the mixture into the bowl with the cornflour, whisking well until smooth. Pour back into the pan, still whisking, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 minute then remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, still whisking often.
  6. Pour the filling into the cooled tart case. It will still look quite liquid, but don’t worry. Leave until it’s set enough to be moved safely, then transfer to the fridge for at least 2 hours to set fully. Top with the candied blood orange slices and a few thyme sprigs to serve. The tart will keep for a few days in the fridge, though it’s best the day it’s assembled.

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