Blood Orange Mascarpone Tart...for Valentine's Day

When flipping through lovely magazines filled with tempting dishes, there is usually one photograph that  leaps off the page and begs my eyes to stare in delight. 

This is typically how the next dessert or dish here at "Snippets" is chosen.  Pure sensory overload from one photograph and I am swooning over the recipe.

It was in the recent issue of Martha Stewart's February "Living" that I had one of these definite encounters.

Blood Oranges.  Where have I been?  Why have I not seen the pyramids of them stacked at the market?  No matter I decided. Trivial oversight.  Inconsequential.  They are decidedly in my life now....those little gorgeous works of art.

I knew, without a doubt, my ode to Valentine's Day 2012 would be in the form of this Blood Orange Tart with its velvety rich mascarpone filling and a decadent crunchy chocolate crust.

I am often attracted to the hues of deep reds, oranges, and chocolatey it shouldn't surprise me that my eyes locked in on this tart as I was flipping the pages.

It's at this time of year that I pay special note to my Valentine's Day box.  This is sort of my adult version of all of those decorated boxes that we made as school children.  Remember those  tissue boxes covered with pretty paper and decorated with cut out pictures of flowers and candy?

My grown up Valentine's Day box is quite sturdier than those covered tissue boxes.  I found this red box {above, right} in an antique store when we lived in Michigan.

I gave it to Patrick for Valentine's Day that year.  I must have filled it with candy or chocolates.  I don't even remember.  It was the box that I was so attracted to.  Finding it tucked behind odds and ends at that antique store was thrilling and I thought it made a fabulous Valentine's Day gift.

The box sits out in our living room all year long.  Each Valentine's Day I put little lovely notes inside of it as keepsakes of that year.  Many are from P. and then there are sweet drawings and scribbles from the kids over the years.

Do you see this sunrise?  Can you believe it?  During my morning quiet time with coffee, I often catch the sunrise, but never have I seen a sight like this.  No editing was done on this photo.

I literally gasped in shock when I looked out the window.  I didn't know what to make of it but thank goodness I snapped a photo.  In an instant, the entire sky lit up as if it were on fire and was totally gone.

Was it a sign that I was intended to make this blood orange tart for Valentine's Day?  Was it a culinary sign??  I am not one to tempt the fates.


Here it is.  Highly recommended.  We loved every single bite of it and I will make it again without doubt.

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Blood Orange Tart with Mascarpone Filling and Chocolate Crust
(adapted from Martha Stewart, Feb. 2012)

For the Tart Shell:
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Roasted Oranges and Filling:
5 Blood Oranges
1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

Make the tart shell:  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla to combine, scraping down side of bowl if needed.

Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream and beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Shape dough into a disk, and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Roll out dough to a little less than 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Fit dough into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Tim edge flush with top edge of pan.  Chill in freezer until firm.

Prick bottom all over with a fork, and bake until firm about 20 minutes.  Let shell cool in pan on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the roasted oranges:  Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F.  Leaving peel on, cut 4 oranges into 1/4 inch rounds, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (Snippet's note:  I used 2 pans).  Pour 1/4 cup juice over oranges, cover tightly with parchment, then foil, and cook until peel in tender, about 2 hours (it took me @ 1 1/2 hours). Remove foil and parchment, and sprinkle oranges with sugar. Add remaining 1/4 cup juice, and roast oranges for 15 minutes.  Add water, and roast until slightly golden and dry, 2 to 3 minutes.  Cool completely.

Make the filling:  Finely grate zest from remaining orange, about 1 1/2 teaspoons, and stir together with mascarpone and confectioner's sugar.  Spread filling in tart shell, and arrange roasted oranges on top, overlapping slightly.  Enjoy!

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