Monday, October 8, 2012

Orange-Almond Tart

It began with a simple orange-almond tart.

And ends with a pelican.

Or I have it backwards and I start with the pelican.

And end with the tart.

In-between there is an estate sale, bins of memories boxed-up for a later date. There was the sunrise on Lake Superior in Grand Marais.

The view of the lake from the Gunflint Trail.

A peek at Canada.

And at Trail's End - the Boundary Waters. (Complete with a cafe filled with White Sox memorabilia - clearly designed to insult Minnesotans who love their North Shore - the "Norwegian Riviera.")

An estate sale - it's wearing your heart.

And so later we went to a big lake. And I left armed with 20 years of magazines that I was getting rid of - after I went through all the recipes and cut out what I wanted. I started out with saving almost every recipe. And then I whittled. After hours of whittling, I was left with this orange-almond tart. Served with an orange sauce or Marsala whipped cream. I thought it was a good idea.

It was.

It is.

Delicate - almonds and oranges complementing and complimenting each other. More a gateau than the Sicilian Orange Tart I wrote about earlier. A nutty texture - the creaminess is not from within as with the Orange Tart but comes from the sauces it's served with - and it's worth making the sauces. Everyone had both - together - on top of one another. And they're easy. Easy as ... pie. tart. The boys had thirds. The daughter had it again for breakfast (nuts=protein, orange=fruit).

This is a transitional tart. Not too heavy and rich as those that bewitch you in the winter. But not as berry-light as summer gives. Just sweet enough. Just crunchy enough. Just fruity enough to see you through autumn. And just celebratory enough to add to to your Thanksgiving table.

Orange Almond Torte with Orange Sauce and Marsala Whipped Cream
- from Bon Appetit, February 1995
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter - room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks (save the egg whites - you'll need them)
1 cup almonds, toasted, finely ground (I like mine ground - but not to a powder - I like the nuts and crunch)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange peel
1/2 teaspoon coriander (did not get a whiff of that at all in the torte)
Pinch of salt
2 large egg whites

Powdered sugar

Marsala Cream
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sweet Marsala

Orange Sauce (makes 1-1/4 cups; good over ice cream, scones, pound cake...)
1 cup orange juice
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment. Butter parchment and dust with flour. Beat 1/2 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs, then yolks - 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in almonds, flour, orange juice, orange peel, coriander and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into batter in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake cake until golden (it will not be rising) and tester inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. If desired, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar when cooled. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Marsala Cream:
Beat whipping cream and sugar in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Mix in Marsala.

Orange Sauce:
Whisk juice and cornstarch in bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in sugar, orange peel and orange juice mixture. Whisk until sauce boils and thickens slightly - about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

After the estate sale. my sister and I each took one of my mother's beloved penguins.  I brought home a pelican from my mother's townhome. She loved those big, floppy birds and kept two by the fireplace. I put it on my hearth (The Pelican on the Hearth!) and packed for Grand Marais. Friday was spent travelling and going through recipes in the car. Saturday morning, I got up with the sun and Paul and I walked the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Where we were welcomed by a pelican.

P.S. I have turned on Word Verification for a few days to try and combat the huge growth of Spam I deal with daily.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love the look of this cake, Claudia!

I think that pelican was a sign, that your Mom is happy and certainly was a serendipitous sighting!

After doing an estate sale for my Mother's things this past winter, and then purging my own plentiful belongings as I prepare for our upcoming move, I began to realize that things are just that --things. The most important part of life ate not "things." It has made me feel better about all that I sold, gave away or threw away this year. It's a very freeing feeling!

Barbara F. said...

Claudia, when my mom moved in with me, we needed to empty out a big house that was in our family for 55 had things belonging to my grandmother, an unmarried aunt, my mom and me, too! I just looked forward, shed a few tears and try not to look back. I had to do it again with my own stuff 15 years later. Stuff is stuff. People and love make memories on their own. Beautiful sunset and that pelican is way cool. xo

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I agree with Pat that it was a sign that all is well with the world. I really should go through all of my old cooking magazines as you now they will be years and years and years of them in boxes in storage.

Beth said...

What an incredible story of the pelican. That must have been such a moving experience for you.

I still have some copies of Bon Appetit from the 1990s, and I still find some great recipes there!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I believe with the pelican that you mother may have sent you a sign that's she's fine. Crazy probably, but if you believe, you believe.

I totally agree about estate sales. We've done it both ways and having someone do it for you saves a lot of grief and heartache. And as for the Sicilian tart- it's perfect anytime, day or night, whatever the season.

Angie's Recipes said...

Wonderful sunrise!
I have no experience at all with estate sales. Good there are some experts out there help us go through with all these.
The cake looks lovely.

Chiara said...

wonderful photos and an easy to make tart, I love it Claudia!

fimere said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fimere said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fimere said...

de superbes photos de plus j'aime beaucoup le gâteau
bonne soirée

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Periodically, I go through old magazines and clip recipes too Claudia, then end up with huge folders of recipes that I forget about. Good thing you didn't forget this one - it looks wonderful.

Gloria Baker said...

An almond orange tart sounds amazing Claudia and.look delicuous I love your pics!:)

Gloria Baker said...

Claudia Im happy you come back I missed your posts!

chow and chatter said...

this looks so good and such a beautiful place love its nick name :-)

Balvinder said...

Hi Claudia, I am seeing a post from you after a long interval.
This is a wonderful recipe, I like the delicate orange flavor and the nutty texture of this cake.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Welcome back Claudia and oh what a wonderful treat you gave us. I have oranges in my house all the time its a staple in Florida for sure... will have to serve this to my guests what a nice choice of tarts

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a beautiful tart...I'd definitely eat it with both sauces (and for breakfast!). Love all the gorgeous photos...and I will always think of you when I see a pelican...what a great memento of your mom. xo

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely post, dear Claudia: well-written & funny too! :) I love your special & festive looking tart! I love that Marsala cream too! :)

Yummmm! I can't wiat to make it soon! Great pics too!

CJ - Food Stories said...

Great tart & pelican :-)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Such a nice post! Who doesn't love a pelican? Tart looks darn tasty, too. When we downsized a few years ago I got rid of tons of stuff, including Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines dating back to the 1970s (they filled almost 2 bookcases!) I had fantasies about someday going through them all again and reading them with more experienced eyes, but finally decided the effort just wasn't worth it. Miss them from time to time, though.

Amy said...

It has been a while since I have seen a pelican! This tart sounds delicious! Chocolate and orange are so good together!

Catherine said...

Dear Claudia, It is difficult to part with memories. I will keep you in my prayers.
This tart is a perfect addition to a holiday feast. Blessings my dear. Catherine xo

QembarDelites said...

I enjoyed feasting my eyes on your beautiful photos especially that late, it's now on my desktop so whenever I am tired I shall rest my eyes by looking at it:D Delicious looking almond cake, wish I could have some too!

We Are Not Martha said...

Beautiful views!! And stunning cake!


Kelly Mulcair Registered Nutritionist. Content © 2011 Trinity Nutrition. said...

Lovely photos - the fall colours are spectacular - and I would eat that tart backwards and forwards! ;-)

Joanne said...

Whoever would have thought that a pelican and such a gorgeous tart could fit together in the same post?? But they SO do!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

This white pelican is beautiful - and a lovely story. The tart looks quite delicious, too.

Frank said...

Funny, I always thoughts that pelicans were warm-weather birds. Shows you what I know...

Anyway, those views looks incredible and the tart looks delicious. Life is good.

myfrenchkitchen said...

The tart looks delicious and that pelican is too cute...all in the spirit of fall..
hope the engagement and the wedding planning is all going well!

Gina said...

I believe you saved the right recipe and that the sauces were absolutely necessary. I'm glad you got to go to the lake after the sale. It was no accident you ran into the pelican, or should I say he ran into you. I think oranges are a perfect way to welcome autumn, I'm looking forward to the next season, hoping you are too.

FOODESSA said...

A jaunt in appropriate the colors sing with your gorgeous tart. Recipe noted and the oven is waiting impatiently ;o)
The sauces are soooo versatile...will be making at least one of them very soon!


P.S. Congrats to you on your daughter's joyful announcement.

Kathy said...

Claudia, Beautiful photos! Love your pelican and the beautiful scenery!
And the orange almond tart…simply gorgeous!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

Warm memories...incredible landscapes, and the tart? just what I would like to have now..

Lynda said...

What to keep, what to part with; these are hard decisions to make when our mothers pass. I went through it too 5 years ago. I miss her everyday still. but we have wonderful memories.
And you have some fantastic photos as well as a wonderful recipe Claudia. This tart looks amazing.

Cucina49 said...

Oh, how I miss fall in Minnesota. These photos are giving me major nostalgia. And what a gorgeous tart!

Velva said...

What a journey you have been on these last while...A time of loss and reflection. I think the orange tart serves as a delicious symbol of things to come.

Cheers to you.


My Little Space said...

Life always filled with unexpected moment. And sometimes it just took us by surprise. who knows! Just enjoy & have loads of fun and believe there always someone up there looking at us. Isn't it life is beautiful?
Blessings, Kristy

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious tart! Great flavors.

I'd love to see a pelican for real and drive through such amazing landscapes!



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful cake! I bet it tastes absolutely divine.

That pelican is very cute and the landscapes are just stunning.



mandalahi said...

I so wanted to try it, it looks delicious and tasty, yummy

Laurie said...

Oh my goodness.. this sounds AMAZING! And that marsala cream.. wow.. this recipe is being pinned my friend!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

A lovely sounding tart...something different for the holidays that is not so heavy.

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

After my trip to Italy, Claudia, this citrus-based torta is tugging at my heart to bake! I just love this recipe!

I would also like to wish you and yours a most blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! I am so very grateful for our friendship!



When I saw the pelican on your post, I thought about the story of an ancient legend on how a mother pelican will pierce its breast to feed its young ones in desperate times. It's about self sacrifice and resurrection.
How apt could this symbol be about your mom, about where you are at...
I love reading your posts. We don't just feast with our eyes with the food that you share, but your writings, ahh they feed the soul like this post did to mine today.
Merry Christmas Claudia. I'm glad to see you around.

Sue/the view from great island said...

This tart is so right up my alley! I'm craving citrus these days, I can't wait to try this. Happy Holidays Claudia!