This blood orange shaker tart has sweet and tart blood orange slices, a smooth blood orange curd, and a crisp and buttery shortbread crust! And as extravagant as this tart looks, it’s actually pretty simple to make.
Why is it called a Shaker tart?
The term Shaker tart, sometimes called a Shaker pie, refers not the “shaking” something but actually to the Shakers—a religious sect that came out of the Christian Protestant denomination.
The Shaker cooks are known for not wasting a single thing, and in this case that means the peels of our blood oranges! This tart (or pie) is traditionally made with lemons, but we’re putting fresh twist on this recipe.
Making the shortbread crust
Making this shortbread crust is super simple! You’ll start by creaming your butter and sugar together. You’ll want to beat it for a good long time, about 4-5 minutes. The butter should pale significantly and look light and fluffy. Normally we cream butter and sugar together to help aerate help lift our baked goods. But if you cream the butter and sugar together long enough then it will actually cause the dough to fall and be dense, just as shortbread should be.
After you cream the butter and sugar together you’ll add in your vanilla, salt, and flour. Your mixture at this point will be super crumbly but should stick when pushed together. You’ll press the crust into your pie dish or tart pan, pressing it up the sides. Really push the dough together so that it is dense and sticks. I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to help give me a flat even crust all the way around, but feel free to sue your hands. If you find that your dough is sticking to your hands or measuring cup try using a little cooking spray or a light dusting of flour.
Why do we freeze the shortbread crust?
Once your crust is pressed into your pan, prick your crust a few times with a fork to keep it from puffing up, pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes. We want to freeze the crust to keep it from shrinking! If you didn’t freeze your crust you might find that the crust slumps down or shrinks from its original size.
Bake the crust at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes; at this point it will only be partially baked. Then you’ll continue by adding in your blood orange slices and blood orange curd, and then bake it all the way through for another 50-55 minutes.
Macerating the Blood Oranges and Extracting the Juice
To be able to eat the entire blood orange, peel and all, we want to coat it in sugar and salt and let it set. This will macerate the blood oranges, or soften them, and extract the juice for our curd. This step is actually SO EASY. However, it does take a little forethought. You’ll start by washing your oranges. YES, Wash them! In this case you are actually eating the orange rinds. After you wash them, slice off the ends of the oranges, and then slice the oranges as thinly as possible.
Grab a clean large jar, I used a quart sized jar, and pile in your thinly sliced blood oranges. Mix together 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of granulated sugar and pour it into the jar over top of the sliced oranges (see second picture). Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake so that the sugar and salt really get into every crevice around the oranges. You’ll let this mixture sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours or more, shaking it every couple of hours.
After 24 hours, your blood oranges should have softened and extracted a lot of juice and you should have something that looks like the third image below.
Making the Blood Orange Curd
Tip the contents of the jar into a large bowl. And remove your blood orange slices and set them aside. In your bowl you should have a sugar and blood orange juice mixture. To this you’ll add your 4 large eggs and beat them together with a hand mixture for about 5 minutes until it is light and frothy.
Then take your blood orange slices and arrange them in your partially baked shortbread crust so they are slightly overlapping. If you find you have any slices that are too thick, leave them out, and if you have leftover orange slices that’s okay too. Once you’ve arranged the slices in your crust, pour your blood orange curd over top of the blood oranges.
Removing the foam
So you might be thinking, okay but now I can’t see all those pretty blood oranges? The curd you poured over top probably has a lot of frothy bubbles that are hiding the orange slices—you’ve got two options here: leave it or remove it!
If you leave the frothy foam your tart will still taste just as delicious but you lose a little of the prettiness of this tart. Your second option is to grab a spoon and just spoon off the foam on top so that you see all those beautiful orange slices. Then, pop it in the oven and bake!
How does the flavor of blood oranges compare to regular oranges?
If you’ve never had a blood orange you might be wondering, do they actually taste different than regular oranges? YES! Blood oranges taste like oranges with a bit of grapefruit and kind of berry flavor thrown in. They are absolutely delicious!
When are blood oranges in season?
Blood oranges are in season December-May! Depending on the type of blood orange you get that window might vary slightly.
Can I use something else instead of blood oranges?
Absolutely! This recipe should work beautifully with all types of citrus—lemons, tangerines, and oranges! I’m not sure if I would try grapefruit just because the skin tends to be super bitter. If you try swapping the fruit, let us know what you used and how it turned out!
Try out these other Show Stopping desserts!
- Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake
- Chocolate Meringue Torte
- Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
- Brown Sugar Pecan Pie w/ Shortbread Crust
- Lemon Meringue Pie
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Blood Orange Shaker Tart
Blood Orange Curd:
- 3 blood oranges sliced extremely thin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup butter
- 2 c flour measured correctly
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
Curing your Blood Oranges for the Curd:
- Wash your oranges. Slice off the ends and throw them away. Then slice your blood oranges as thinly as you can and remove any seeds you see. In a large jar or bowl place your sliced blood oranges and toss them together with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of granulated sugar. Cover and Let the mixture sit for at least 24 hours. Give the mixture a good stir or shake every few hours.
- Tip your orange mixture into a large bowl. Remove the sliced oranges and set them aside for later. Left in the bowl you should have sugar syrup that has formed from the sugar and blood orange juice. Add 4 large eggs to the mixture and whip them together for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and frothy. Make your short bread crust.
- Beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Then add in vanilla extract, salt, and flour until mixture is crumbly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press dough into a tart pan or pie dish (I used a 10” tart pan), really pushing it into the sides and grooves of the tart pan making a nice crust.
- Freeze your crust for 20 minutes then bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool and then continue on to assembling your tart.
Making the Blood Orange Curd & Assembling the Tart:
- Take your cooled shortbread crust and layer your sliced blood orange slices into it. Make sure you remove any slices that are too thick.
- Pour your blood orange curd (your sugar/egg mixture) over top of the blood orange slices. You’ll notice that your curd will have lots of air bubbles over the top. Take a spoon and scoop away the air bubbles. If you skip this part they will form a crust over top of the blood oranges and you will not see the blood oranges through from the top, however, if you leave it it will not effect the flavor.
- Bake your tart at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-55 minutes until your curd has a slight wobble but is set. Be sure to check on your tart every 15 minutes, if you see any bubbles or a skin forming over top of your blood orange slices, take a spoon and scoop it away so that you really see those beautiful blood oranges. Cool completely before serving.
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