Orange Tart

This recipe, found in an Oxford manuscript, dates from about 1780. The tart was supposed to have been a favourite of George III’s queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg. It is not included in Patrick Lamb’s book, but is very much the kind of dish which he suggests for the third course of a royal dinner. It may well have been served at Blenheim. The original recipe produces a tart about 14 inches in diameter, which would have served about 20 people. For a large dinner at this time, there would probably have been four tarts with different fillings, preferably of different colours, one at each corner of the table.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb (240 g) short pastry
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • cup (210 g) castor sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated

Method

Roll out the pastry and line a 9 inch (23 cm) tart tin with it.

Finely grate the peel and squeeze the juice from the oranges and the lemon into a bowl. Stir in ¾ cup (180 g) of the sugar and the well-beaten egg yolks, beat well and pour into the pastry-lined tin. Bake at 300°F (160°C, Gas Mark 2) for 45 minutes, or until the mixture has set.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until they hold a peak. Take out the tart, pile this meringue quickly on top and return to the oven for 10 minutes. The meringue should be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but soft inside. Serve immediately.