French Orange Cream Tart


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About

Oven Temperature 425°F/220°C for the tart shell; 300°F/150°C for the orange cream tart

Baking Time 25 to 35 minutes for the tart shell; 30 to 40 minutes for the orange cream tart

This exquisite recipe was inspired by one I enjoyed at a dinner at L’École, the restaurant at The International Culinary Center in New York City. Chef Tina Casaceli, the owner of Milk & Cookies Bakery in New York City and a chef instructor at L’École at the time, shared the special filling and caramelizing technique with me: The tart is filled with the creamiest of true orange fillings and topped with the finest possible crunch of caramel.


Orange Cream Filling

orange zest, finely grated (from 1 orange) 2 tablespoons, loosely packed . 12 grams
lemon zest, finely grated 1 teaspoon, loosely packed . 2 grams
granulated sugar ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon 4.1 ounces 115 grams
orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large oranges) ½ cup plus tablespoons (140 ml) 5 ounces 143 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained tablespoons (40 ml) 1.4 ounces 40 grams
Grand Marnier (optional) 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
6 (to 9) large egg yolks ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (103 ml) 4 ounces 112 grams
heavy cream 1 cup (237 ml) 8.2 ounces 232 grams
powdered sugar (for dusting) 1 tablespoon . 9 grams

Special Equipment

One 9½ by 1 inch high fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, sprayed with baking spray with flour if not a nonstick pan | An expandable flan ring or 12 inch round cardboard template | One 8 inch round cake pan | A baking sheet lined with nonstick or lightly sprayed aluminum foil | A large coffee urn filter, several smaller cup-style filters, or pleated parchment to be filled with beans or rice as weights (spray the bottom(s) lightly with nonstick cooking spray) | A foil ring to protect the edges of the crust | A splashguard or plastic wrap for the stand mixer


Make the Cookie Tart Dough

See recipe.

Chill the Dough

Flatten the dough into a 6 inch disc. Wrap it well and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, or until firm enough to roll or pat into the pan. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. If chilled for more than 30 minutes, it can take as long as 40 minutes at room temperature to become malleable enough to roll.

Roll the Dough

Set the dough between lightly floured large sheets of plastic wrap. Roll it evenly into a ⅛ inch thick disc larger than 12 inches in diameter. While rolling the dough, sprinkle it with a little more flour on each side as needed and if the dough softens significantly, slip it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it until firm (see Notes). From time to time, flip the dough with the plastic wrap, and lift off and flatten out the plastic wrap as necessary to make sure it does not wrinkle into the dough.

Line the Tart Pan

Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and use the expandable flan ring, or a pizza wheel or small sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut a 12 inch disc. If using the pizza wheel or knife, take care not to cut through the bottom plastic wrap. (Excess dough can be frozen for several months.) If the dough softens after cutting, refrigerate it until firm. It will not drape over the pan unless it is flexible, so if it becomes too rigid in the refrigerator, let it sit and soften for a few minutes.

Invert the 8 inch cake pan onto a work surface. Use the bottom sheet of plastic wrap to lift the dough and set it, plastic side down, over the 8 inch cake pan (see Lemon and Cranberry Tart Tart). Smooth down the sides so they will fit into the tart pan and place the removable bottom of the tart pan on top. Then carefully place the fluted ring, upside down, on top. Place a flat plate or cardboard round over the tart pan to keep it from separating. Invert the pans and remove the cake pan. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Gently ease the dough down to reach the bottom and sides of the pan. If the dough breaks when transferring it into the pan, patch and press it into the pan with your fingers.

Fold in the excess dough to halfway down the sides of the tart pan. Press it against the sides so that it extends ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If the dough is thicker in places, press it so that it becomes thinner (it will rise higher). Use small sharp kitchen scissors to trim it to ⅛ to ¼ inch above the top of the pan. If pressing in the dough with your fingers, press it at the juncture where the bottom meets the sides, which often tends to be thicker. For a decorative border, use the back of a knife to make diagonal marks all around, using each flute as a guide.

Chill the Tart Shell

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it or freeze it for a minimum of 1 hour.

Preheat the Oven

Thirty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks at the middle and lowest levels and preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

Bake the Tart Shell

Run a finger along the outside fluted edge of the pan to make sure that no dough is attached. The dough must not extend onto the outside of the pan because as the sides slip down a bit on baking, it will make a hole when the baked crust is removed.

Line the pan with the coffee filter or parchment and fill it three-quarters full with beans or rice to weight it, pushing the weights up against the sides. Carefully transfer the tart pan to the foil-lined baking sheet and set it on the lower rack.

Bake for 5 minutes, lower the heat to 375°F/190°C, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set. If not set, the dough will stick more to the filter. Lift out the filter with the weights. Place the foil ring on top of the tart to protect the edges from overbrowning and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes more. If the dough starts to puff in places, press it down quickly with your fingertips or the back of a spoon (see Notes). Bake until pale gold (the edges will be a deeper brown) and the tart shell feels set but still soft to the touch. (It will continue firming while cooling, just the way cookies do.)

Cool the Tart Shell

Remove the tart pan, still on the baking sheet, to a wire rack. If any holes have formed, seal them with a little egg white and return the pan to the oven for 30 seconds for the egg white to set and become opaque. Alternatively, seal the hole or holes with a little melted white chocolate.

Lower the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C.

The unbaked tart shell can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for about 1 year. The baked tart shell will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days.

Bake the Tart

Place the foil ring on top of the tart to protect the edges from overbrowning and set the baking sheet with the completed tart on the middle rack. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set, removing the foil ring after 15 minutes. When the baking sheet is moved, the filling should jiggle only very slightly. The orange cream will balloon about ¼ inch above the rim of the crust and will have a thin skin on it, but look slightly moist toward the center. (An instant-read thermometer should read about 185°F/85°C.)

Cool the Tart

Remove the tart pan, still on the baking sheet, to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover it with an inverted plate or large bowl and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.

Caramelize the Powdered Sugar

When ready to serve the tart, sift half of the powdered sugar evenly over the surface of the tart and use a torch to caramelize it until it is a deep amber color. Return the tart to the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool the surface and then repeat with the remaining sugar. Alternatively, simply dust the top of the tart with the powdered sugar.

Make the Orange Cream Filling

In a food processor, place the orange zest, lemon zest, and granulated sugar and process until the zest is very fine. Alternatively, chop the zest with a sharp chef’s knife.

Into a 4 cup glass measure with a spout, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, or a medium saucepan, pour the orange juice and lemon juice. Reduce the juices in the microwave or on the cooktop to 6 tablespoons/89 ml/3 ounces/86 grams. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and stir in the Grand Marnier, if using.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater and splash guard, on low speed, beat the zest-sugar mixture and egg yolks for about 2 minutes, or until well combined. Gradually beat in the cream and then the cooled juice mixture.

Pour and scrape the filling into the prepared tart shell still on the foil-lined baking sheet. The filling will be close to the top of the crust.

Unmold the Tart

Place the tart pan on top of a canister that is smaller than the bottom opening of the tart pan’s outer rim. Press down on both sides of the tart ring. The outer rim should slip away easily. Slip a long metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan, loosening it all around if necessary, and slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve the tart immediately while the thin coating of caramelized sugar is still crisp.


Refrigerated, 1 day (the caramelized topping will soften completely on storage).

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