Daring Bakers Challenge : Orange Tian


(Orange ‘Tian’ – hazelnut sable, lemon curd, apple mint)

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.

You know what they say : sometimes the simplest things are the best, and it doesn’t get any simpler than oranges, whipped cream and pastry. On paper, this sounds like an unexciting, rather basic dessert. Having now tasted my assembled version of the orange tian, I can certainly see its appeal. The burst of flavour from the juicy orange segments draped in slightly bitter orange caramel, offset the sweet richness of the whipped cream (folded through with homemade marmalade) and pastry. The whole is understated, but well balanced. It’s the kind of tricky, subtle balance that many of us bakers strive to achieve but don’t always succeed in accomplishing. It’s like knowing how many swear words to insert into Al Swearengen’s dialogue without making him sound too ridiculous. Or how many ruffles you can fit onto a dress before you get panned on Go Fug Yourself.


I must admit, I like adding ruffles to my desserts. I ruffled this dessert up with the addition of lemon curd and little white-green apple mint leaves, which have a flavour I would liken to minty olives (predominantly mint, with a finish that is grassy and very much like extra virgin olive oil). I also ruffled the end result with some green tea froth (as pictured below), but decided in the end that it was one ruffle too many.

My favourite components from the recipe provided were the homemade marmalade and the whipped cream. The whipped cream was stabilised with gelatine and flavoured with a small amount of the marmalade. I altered the recipe slightly to include some yogurt and the end result was quite light and refreshing. The marmalade, my first attempt at making one, was very easy to put together and since I didn’t use much of it in my plated dish, I now have a nice small container of marmalade to use in other things. I’m already considering my breakfast tomorrow, and thinking of a breakfast-inspired dessert.

All in all, an enjoyable little treat (perfect for the current weather too!), with many thanks to Jennifer. If you’d like any of the recipes, you can get them from her blog.


(..with green tea)

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