All of my friends know that I’m a huge fan of fruit-flavored sodas. Grape is my top choice, but orange is a close second. When I was flipping through my copy of Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented I was immediately drawn to this recipe because it prominently features orange soda. I brought this tart to a friend’s house for brunch dessert and it was was a big hit – even with people who don’t love soda as much as I do.
This is a great dessert to serve after a meal because the citrus is refreshing and it’s not rich the way a slice of cake or brownie can be. I also really liked that the orange flavor is in every component: there is orange zest in the tart dough, orange soda and juice in the curd filling, and more orange soda in the whipped cream. Don’t be intimidated by the directions. They look very long and complicated, but one of the nicest things about the Baked cookbooks is they provide really thorough directions with looks of hints and cues so you know you’re on the right track.
Note: You need to start this tart about 6 hours before you would like to serve it to allow enough time for chilling.
Orange Creamsicle Tart
Yield – One 9 inch tart
For the Orange Cream Soda Filling
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- Zest and juice of 2 medium lemons (2 tbsp. zest and 1/4 cup juice)
- Zest and juice of 3 large oranges (3 tbsp. zest and 1 cup juice)
- 1 cup of orange cream soda (I used Orange Fanta because my grocery store doesn’t carry fancy sodas and it still had a very strong Creamsicle taste)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
For the Orange Tart Dough
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 orange (2 tbsp.)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Orange Whipped Topping
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. orange cream soda
Make the Orange Cream Soda Filling
1. Place the butter in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a wide bowl, sprinkle gelatin evenly over the lemon juice (take care that the gelatin does not clump.)
3. In a medium saucepan stir together the orange juice and soda. Bring to a boil and cook until it is reduced by half, or 1 cup. Turn the heat to low and whisk to release excess heat. I had to measure and remeasure my soda to tell when it had reduced by half. It took at least 10 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon and orange zest, eggs, egg yolks, and sugar and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until a candy thermometer reads 180 degrees F, or the curd can easily coat the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatin mixture. Whisk until the gelatin is completely combined. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer directly onto the butter. Whisk the mixture furiously until it has increased in volume (the faster you whip the more voluminous it will be). Cover the top of the curd with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the curd’s surface, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I was really nervous that the curd wasn’t going to be thick enough when I first put it in the refrigerator, but once it chills it sets nicely.
For the Orange Tart Dough
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, zest, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl, add the flour all at once, and beat until the dough comes together in a ball. Do not overbeat, or you crust will be hard.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl, shape it into a disk with your hands, wrap it lightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.
3. Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 10-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. (Note: The dough will be sticky. Be sure to turn it over with a bench knife or offset spatula as needed and keep the work surface floured). I use one of these pie bags so I don’t have to worry about sticking. It was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
4. Ever so gently, guide the dough, without pulling it, into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and lightly press it into place. Roll the rolling pin over the pan to trim off excess. Place the tart pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 375º.
6. Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill it three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans. I used a small pie pan instead of beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and the weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool.
Assemble the Tart
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the curd on high for 5 minutes, then spoon it into the tart and level the filling with an offset spatula. Refrigerate tart for 1 hour to set completely.
Make the Whipped Topping
Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and beat with a chilled whisk for 1 minute. Sprinkle the sugar and orange cream soda on top and continue whisking vigorously until soft peaks form.
To serve gently push up on the tart bottom to remove it from the pan. Top the tart with orange whipped cream.
The tart tastes best if eaten within 24 hours but can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 2 days.