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Orange Tian: Daring Bakers March 2010 Challenge

March 30, 2010

This month’s challenge was a citrus dessert called a Tian.  I had never heard of or tasted this before, but a tian is basically a layered dish, in this case made up of a pâte sablée, orange marmalade, orange whipped cream, fresh orange segments, and topped with a caramel orange sauce.  This was my first time making a pâte sablée, which is the richest and most flavorful of the French pastry crusts.  Sadly, my pâte sablée ended up browning a bit too much after just 18 minutes in the oven, so next time I will definitely bake for less time and keep a closer eye on it.  It still tasted yummy and was just useable, but I would have preferred it to be a bit less crispy.  It was very fun to make my own marmalade, which I made from a Sicilian blood orange…not sure if this variety isn’t very bloody in color, but the end result was more subdued than I was expecting.  This recipe makes a lot more than you will need for the whipped cream, but I’ve been enjoying it for breakfast with some whole wheat bread, which tastes so much better with the satisfaction of knowing that I made it myself.  The segmentation of the oranges was also particularly satisfying and resulted in a simple but very pretty topping for the dessert.  The assembly was fun as well since the tian is built upside down.  I couldn’t find large circular cookie cutters anywhere but despite my doubts and fears that my tian would not unmold once flipped over, the medium sized pyrex bowls that I used worked beautifully without the slightest problems.  The end result was impressive in appearance despite the simple components and the citrus was so refreshing!!  I loved the combination with the whipped cream and caramel sauce which made it smooth and luscious and simply incredible.  

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.

Recipes (I broke this up into two days, making the marmalade, caramel sauce, and orange slices on day one and the pâte sablée & whipped cream on day two, which is when I assembled it)

adapted from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris, France 

Day 1

Orange Marmalade

  • Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
  • 1 large orange used to make orange slices
  • cold water to cook the orange slices
  • pectin 5 grams
  • granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

1) Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

2) Repeat 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

3)  Drain the slices and let them cool.

4) Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince using a food processor (or knife)

5) Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

6) In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin.

7) Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Orange Segments 

  • 8 Oranges 

1) Cut oranges into segments over a bowl and keep the juices (squeeze out juice from remaining membranes into bowl with segments)

Click for cool video demonstration

Caramel Sauce

  • granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
  • orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

1) Place the sugar in a thick bottomed pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

2) Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

3) Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert.

4) When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

Day 2

Pâte Sablée

  • 2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
  • granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
  • vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
  • Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
  • Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
  • All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
  • baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

1) Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

2) In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

3) Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough.

4) Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

5) Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

6) Cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.  Make sure to keep an eye on the dough so it doesn’t burn!

Stabilized Whipped Cream Recipe

  • heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
  • 3 tablespoons of hot water
  • 1 tsp Gelatine
  • 1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar
  • orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

1) In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature. 

2) Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute.

3) Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously.

4) Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks.

5) Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.


Make sure you have some room in your freezer.

If using cookie cutters: Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Otherwise, just use pyrex bowls.  Or you can make one large tian and serve it ‘family style.’

1) Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

2) Arrange the orange segments at the bottom. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. They should fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. [Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.]

3) Add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

4) Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

5) Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

6) Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

7) Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over.  Add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 12:01 am

    Gosh, that does look amazing, and very, very satisfying. There must be some kind of relish from flipping it over to reveal that glistening jewel top!

    • April 2, 2010 7:01 am

      it was a moment of both great satisfaction and relief!! definitely made the whole process worth it!

  2. April 9, 2010 5:02 pm

    Beautiful Tian! I enjoyed the challenge this month. Glad to find your blog

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