Mar 27, 2010

{march daring bakers: orange tian}

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.

Spring has arrived! What better way to usher in this wonderful season than with this months Daring Bakers challenge: Orange Tian. I had never heard of this dessert before and in hearing that it was a recipe from France didn't help my intimidation level. I was however, thrilled to see that the challenge was a colorful citrus flavored dessert that looked light and perfect for Spring.

Orange Tian is made of several layers including pate sablee (tart crust), orange marmalade, a whipped cream filling topped with orange segments and a caramel sauce. Our requirements for the challenge were that we had to make the pate sablee, whipped cream filling, marmalade, citrus segments and caramel sauce. We were allowed to play with flavoring and different fruits in the citrus family. Immediately after reading the description I wanted to do a variety of toppings merely for the sake of playing with colors. I also decided to try making a strawberry marmelade in addition to the orange.

So with all the fun I was planning to have with colors I set off in search of cookie cutters. I was really planning on being early with completing this months challenge but, my plans were foiled by UPS. I found some square cutters on Sur la table that I ordered within a few days of the challenge being posted. Excited about creating the colorful tians, I tracked them online and discovered they went to Richmond then somehow ended up in San Diego. I live in Virginia. Long story short, they didn't get here until the 19th.

{orange marmalade}

I started by making both the orange and strawberry marmalade. The orange marmalade did not take too long to make and filled my kitchen with a delicious smell. There was some confusion as to whether or not we were supposed to include the rind in the marmalade. Verdict: use everything except the seeds; rind and all goes into the pot to be blanched. The blanching process actually helps remove some of the bitterness in the rind making it very edible. It came out beautifully.

{strawberry marmalade}

The recipe I found for strawberry marmalade was a very simple one from Epicurious. It included 1/2 cup of the orange marmalade I had made and took all of about 15 minutes to assemble and jar.


The next step was to segment the citrus. I bought naval oranges, lemons, limes, kiwi and strawberries from the store. I couldn't stop! The citrus was pretty easy to segment, although it made a bit of a mess. I sliced the kiwi and strawberries and placed everything in their individual bowls. The You Tube movie Jennifer recommended on segmenting an orange was a life saver.

{caramel sauce}

I was very excited about making the caramel sauce...I heart caramel. I guess I didn't really factor in the word "sauce". It was not that difficult to make but you want to monitor the sugar closely. I might have poured in the orange juice a little too early instead of waiting until all the sugar was bubbling. It all melted during the simmering and boiling process though so it wasn't a big deal.

{pate sablee}

When I read that I had to make my own pate sablee, I was worried because I had no idea what pate sablee actually was. After I GTS (googled that s@#*), I discovered it is simply a French pastry crust. Whew. Again, still no rolling pin so I made do with my hands and a bottle of Pam spray wrapped in parchment paper. Seriously, I need to pony up and buy a rolling pin.

{whipped cream filling}

This was my second time making whipped cream. I'm still amazed at how simple it is to do. Watching the peaks form is a lot of fun! I split the mixture into two containers and added orange marmalade to one and strawberry marmalade to the other. I also added in a dash of nutmeg.


Finally, after all those steps, time to assemble these babies. The tians are assembled upside down: layer the segments, add whipped cream filling, spread some marmalade on the tart crust then place on top. Chill in freezer and viola, Colorful Tian's!

{the tians}

I ended up with a variety of combinations: strawberry marmalade with lime, with kiwi, with strawberry and with orange segments. Orange marmalade with lemon, strawberry and orange segments. The combinations were wonderful. John's favorite was the lemon combined with orange marmalade. The tartness of the lemon bites you gently at first but is quickly balanced out with the sweetness of the pate sablee, whipped cream filling and marmalade.

This has been my absolute favorite challenge yet! I got to work with color and lovely fresh fruits to create a delicious, light dessert. There were a lot of steps to put this one together, but it was well worth it in the end. You can get the entire recipe over at The Daring Kitchen.


  1. I love the variety of colours and your lovely photos of the process. They all look yummy.

  2. Yuuum.
    Love the colors !
    You are one of the only ones who used different fruits, and it is a really result. Full of colors.
    Nice job ! Great challenge :D

  3. Oh, Becca I am mightily impressed! These look fantastic! All I can say is, "Om Nom Nom". :)

  4. Wow absolutely stunning! I want to eat them all now :)

  5. What beautiful colours your tians! Good Job! :-D
    Ago :-D

  6. These look event-worthy with the perfect squares and bright colors. Great job taking the challenge to the next level.

  7. Everything looks so delicious! I love that the strawberry marmalade includes some of the orange marmalade as well - yum! I want to try these again with some kiwi now!

  8. I just threw away a rolling pin because I didn't need two.....

    Those look amazing. When can we come visit!

  9. I love all your variations and I'm so glad you liked my tian challenge!

  10. Never heard of Tian but this is gorgeous!