Saturday, February 25, 2017

When life gives you oranges ... help supporting the Big Sur Bakery

It has been a crazy winter in California. After five years gripped in a near existential drought, this has been the wettest winter on record, with near biblical storms causing destructive landslides, flooding and irreparable devastation to the state's infrastructure.

One region hit especially hard is Big Sur, the wild coastline between Monterey and Santa Barbara and one of our favorite destinations for an escape from the city ~ e.g. this fall Big Sur road trip and a memorable Big Sur Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. After a summer of ravaging wildfires, evacuations and longtime road closures, Big Sur once again finds itself cut off from the outside world: with a canyon bridge damaged beyond repair by a recent landslide, Highway One was closed indefinitely last week, cutting off access to this remote coastline and to Big Sur Bakery, one of my favorite Big Sur destinations.

With another rain storm approaching this weekend, Big Sur has been on my mind as I find myself browsing the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook, a favorite in this kitchen. And with a basket of sunny citrus on the kitchen counter, I thought I would share an all-time favorite recipe from the archives along with some Big Sur photos ...

Big Sur Bakery Marmalade Tart

Big sur Bakery Marmalade Tart recipe

... for the dough:
1 1/2 cups cold butter, cut into small cubes
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

... for the almond cream:
3/4 cup unblanched almonds {toasted until brown, then finely chopped}
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
grated zest of 1 small orange
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

... for assembling the tart:
1 cup high-quality citrus marmalade {orange, lemon or blood orangea personal favorite}
3-4 medium-sized citrus fruits {I used naval orange, cara-cara & blood orange}
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350°F {180°C}.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them until golden through the center {about 8-10 minutes}. Remove the almonds from oven and let cool completely {leaving the oven on}. Once cooled, chop the almonds and set them aside.

To make the tart dough, combine the butter cubes with flour, sugar, orange zest and salt in the bowl, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes.

Using an electric mixer {ideally fitted with a paddle attachment}, work the chilled mixture until very
crumbly. Then add the orange juice and continue to mix until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes {or as long as a week}.

While dough is chilling, make the almond cream:
put the butter, powdered sugar, almond extract, orange zest and salt into a bowl and cream with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg a little at a time, mixing until incorporated. Then add the flour and mix well. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the chopped almonds - the cream itself should be smooth, but almonds will make it look like chunky peanut butter. Reserve almond cream at room temperature until ready to use.

Increase oven temperature to 375°F {190°C}. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out over a generously floured countertop until it's about 1/4" thick. Using a paring knife, cut a rectangle 12 x 16" {30 x 40cm} . Carefully transfer the dough rectangle to prepared baking sheet.

Spread the citrus marmalade over the dough, leaving a 1" {2.5cm} border all the way around the tart.
Gently spread the almond cream over the marmalade. Fold the edges of the dough over to create a crust - this will keep the marmalade from seeping out. Place the tart in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While the tart is chilling, prepare the citrus:
Cut off both ends of the fruit with a sharp knife. The flat surface will allow the fruit to "stand". With a sharp knife and following the curve of the fruit, cut off all of the rind and pith. Place citrus on its side and cut crosswise into 1/4" rounds, carefully removing seeds or remaining pith.

Remove the tart from the refrigerator - and now comes the fun part:
arrange the different colored citrus slices evenly over the almond cream. Place them close together, but without letting them overlap. Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg, sprinkle the tart with sugar, going a bit heavier on the edges. Dot the citrus rounds with butter to prevent burning.

Bake tart for 40 to 45 minutes, until the almond cream and crust are a deep golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool on the sheet for at least 15 minutes.

Big sur Bakery Marmalade Tart recipe

Serve warm or at room temperature
~ and make sure to save a slice to enjoy with your coffee the next morning : )

* * * * * * 

Please consider supporting Big Sur Bakery in these tough times:

place an order for the beautiful Big Sur Bakery Cookbook 
~ make sure to place directly via the bakery web shop ~

Big sur Bakery Marmalade Tart recipe


  1. Exquisite photos and a reminder of the beauty as well as the fragility of our world.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Paola!
      Big Sur is dear to my heart and the Big Sur Bakery a favorite stop on every visit.
      Let's hope that access will be established again soon for the sake of the local businesses and residents of this fragile coastline ...

  2. Wonderful photos <3 And the tart looks amazing!!

    1. Ooh, dankeschön, Laura & Nora : )

      Big Sur is such a special place - a beautifully wild and rugged coastline, yet so fragile to nature's impact.
      And the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook is a year-round favorite in my kitchen, taking you thru the seasons in Big Sur with many inspiring recipes ...

  3. It looks like stained glass or a lily pond! A perfect showcase for citrus. Kinda almost making me change my mind about turning my blood oranges into marmalade (almost!)

  4. I love making blood orange marmalade in winter {sunshine in a jar!}
    - and candying the peel, if I can find the time ...


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