When winter comes, I am unlike most. I get excited. I'm not particularly fond of the hot summer months. I enjoy spring and especially fall because there is a slight chill in the air, and the air itself smells different. I love when the leaves start to fall and when they finally come back in the spring. Winter falls right in the middle of those two wonderful seasons. For the last two years I haven't been able to truly celebrate the holiday season due to my current job. However, Jacob and I always make it special and I look back fondly on the three Christmas seasons we have spent together. I make homemade French hot cocoa, boeuf bourguignon, and lots of cookies while Jacob reads and draws.
Now that the crazy holiday season is over, I am so excited to be able to spend even more time in the kitchen and writing for the blog. I have a little spiral-bound notebook that I carry with me and I have been filling page after page with new recipe ideas. The types of recipes are vast, from roast chicken to hummus to layer cakes. I get into mind set and all I can think of is food. I want to try new and old things. Things I wouldn't have thought to make a year ago. My taste buds are always evolving and becoming more curious. One thing that I am very excited to experiment with in the next couple months is citrus. It is finally in season and I can get grapefruit, oranges, and lemons from Costco by the case. That is my favorite way to buy it, by the way. You get so much of it (ten pounds of oranges for around $12!!!!) and it is surprisingly great quality. I have never wasted any of it because you can do so many things with it. Today I will share with you my new favorite way to use my winter citrus fruits.
So let's talk about these Citrus Tartlets with Honey Chantilly Cream. My inspiration for this recipe came from a recipe for a fruit cocktail that my boyfriend's mother made. His lovely sister was so kind to share the recipe with me and I wanted to surprise them with these tartlets. They are so easy to make yet SO delicious. The pâte sucrée (French for "sugar dough") is sweet, crumbly, and perfectly tender for the tartlet shells. It's stable enough so that you can remove the tartlets from their molds easily without snapping in half. The grapefruit and orange curd is the best part, of course. It is extremely smooth and has the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. The honey chantilly cream is very easy to make yet it adds so much to this sweet little pastry. It isn't overly sweetened, so you get a nice balance from the tartness of the citrus curd and the subtle creamy chantilly.
I love how these tartlets turned out and to be honest, they look a lot harder to make than they actually are. All you need is a food processor, a pot, and tartlet pans. You can decorate these however you want too. I just chose to pipe in the honey chantilly cream is this cute little pattern on top and that's all.
Citrus Tartlets with Honey Chantilly Cream
For the Tart Dough
3 Cups all-purpose Flour
2/3 Cups Granulated White Sugar
½ Teaspoon Salt
16 Tablespoons Cold Butter, Cubed
2 Egg Yolks
4 Tablespoons Ice Cold Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
For the Citrus Curd
1 Cup Grapefruit Juice*
½ Cup Orange Juice*
1 Cup Granulated White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
4 Large Eggs
4 Large Egg Yolks
Pinch of Salt
1 Vanilla Bean, cut in half an seeds scraped out**
12 Tablespoons Butter, cut into 1" cubes
For the Honey Chantilly Cream
1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
2-4 Tablespoons Honey
For the tart dough:
In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse for 10 seconds to combine everything. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, water, and vanilla. Add the egg yolk mixture to the food processor and pulse everything until the dough comes together. To check if its ready, grab a little bit of the dough and pinch in between two fingers. If the dough holds together it's ready! Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and dump the dough on top. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap tightly. Chill for at least two hours or overnight.
Once the dough has chilled, flour a work surface and roll out the dough to ½ inch thick. Using 5" tart molds with removable bottoms (I use these) cut out rounds of dough about an inch larger in diameter than the molds. Place the dough into the mold and press down the sides and bottom firmly. Trim the excess dough that goes above the rim of the tart molds with a sharp paring knife. Using a fork, poke a few holes on the bottom of the tart. Cut pieces of foil large enough to fit inside the tart shells and cover the sides completely. Place the foil into the tart shells and press down and against the sides. Fill the foil/tart shells with pie weights, dried rice, or dried beans so that when you bake the shells they don't puff up!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the tartlet molds onto a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake them for 15 minutes. Remove the tartlets from the oven and carefully (using oven mitts) remove the foil filed with your weights out of the tart shells and set them aside. Now place the tartlet shells back into the oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until the tartlets turn a golden brown. Remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before filling them.
For the Citrus Curd:
In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Whisk everything until it is fully combined. Set the saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly until the curd is thick and can coat the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and begin adding the butter, one cube at a time, and continue to whisk until all of the butter is added and you have a smooth citrus curd.
Transfer the curd to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the plastic wrap to fall down and completely rest against the top of the curd so that a thick skin doesn't form on the top of it. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until the citrus curd is completely cooled.
For the Honey Chantilly:
In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream and honey and whip on medium high speed until medium-stiff peaks form. You don't want the chantilly to be too soft or too stiff. You want medium-stiff peaks so that it's stable enough to pipe.
Once you have completed all of the above steps, you are ready to assemble these cute lil' tartlets! Set all of your tartlet shells side by side to make everything easy (think assembly line style here!) and then remove the citrus curd from the refrigerator and give it a quick mix. Transfer it to a large piping bag. Alternatively you can just use a large spoon to transfer the curd into the tartlet shells. Pipe (or spoon) curd into the shells about 3/4 of the way full-- there should be about 1/4-1/2 inch space left and use an offset spatula to smooth out the curd. Put the tartlets onto a baking tray and refrigerate for one hour to set the curd.
Transfer your honey chantilly cream to a piping bag with any piping tip you would like (I used a Wilton 6B tip). Pipe as many or as little "stars" as you would like. I love how the chantilly tastes so I cover the entire top with it!
* For the grapefruit and orange juice you can use freshly squeezed juice or already packaged juice. If you do chose to use already packaged juice make sure that it is 100% PURE juice with no added sugar.
** You can use 2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean pod.