It’s nearly April, and with Spring having done its annual thing, the Acer on my patio is finally beginning to leaf out, I’ve replenished my sadly neglected herb box, and it seems everything is in riotous bloom. The season has had a positive effect on me as well, because I actually completed a Daring Bakers Challenge within respectable time of its March 27 reveal date. Will wonders never cease?
The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris. Oh the possibilities for this particular challenge.
If you’ve not heard of a tian before, it’s a layered dessert comprised of a pate sablee, marmalade, flavored whipped cream and fruit — and in the case of this month’s challenge — oranges. Living in the Golden State, or Southern California in particular, citrus is plentiful. At this time of year, there are lemons, Meyer lemons, Persian limes, key limes, pink grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, cara oranges (they’re pink inside), Valencia oranges, blood oranges, and Cuties.
Cuties are California mandarins. They’re tiny, compact orbs of sweet, segmented deliciousness — especially if you want something for a healthy snack. And since they were on sale at Henry’s, I decided they’d become the base of my dessert. Thanks very much to Jennifer for this challenge. A tian is a dessert that can be made ahead of time in parts, then assembled right before you’d like to enjoy it.
Wait — have you ever made marmalade?
Ah, well. Therein lies the rub.