Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daring Bakers' March Challenge - 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.

*rush rush rush rush rush* Whew!

Obviously, I am very, very late for this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, and I apologize for that. It’s been very stressful and busy lately, and I just couldn’t put the time aside. Still, it’s the first time I’ve ever been late, with 11 challenges under my belt… so it’s not a terrible track record yet.

I wasn’t familiar at all with Orange Tian. Whenever I mentioned tian to anyone, they associated it with vegetables. But what we were challenged to make by Jennifer, our hostess, was a layered dessert consisting of pâte sablée, citrus marmalade, stabilized whipped cream, and caramel-infused citrus segments.

I had made pâte sablée before, and it was as forgiving and delicious as I remember. It’s a very rich pastry dough that could practically be eaten as a cookie, thanks to its crumbly texture. It goes great with fruity concoctions.

We were free to use any kind of citrus for this challenge. I initially wanted to use blood oranges, but my grocery store was out of them, so I stuck with plain old oranges. The first step was to make marmalade. Now, I’m not much of a jam-maker: I just don’t like cooking fruit, I prefer to eat them fresh. But every now and then, it’s a fun process to go through. I slightly overcooked my marmalade, but it was good enough to serve its purpose.

It had been a long time since I had last made caramel. I think it’s always going to be scary: the hissing and spattering when you pour the liquid over the boiling sugar always makes me feel a little overwhelmed. But I’m getting used to it.

I had never segmented an orange before, because I just don’t use oranges much in my cooking and baking. And when I do, I only use the zest and the juice. Properly skinning and cutting out the segments took some practice, and was a lengthy process. After two oranges, I was ready to throw down my sticky fruit knife. But by the sixth and final one, I was actually starting to enjoy it.

Finally, I’m very happy to have learned how to make stabilized whipped cream, because I can think of so many applications for it. It’s basically just whipped cream with gelatin, but it does hold so much better and longer than the regular kind.

I used deep baking rings to assemble four little tians. They were a bit too large for one person, but perfect for sharing. We were instructed to freeze the tians for ten minutes, but I made them ahead and froze them for a few hours, thawing them 30 minutes before serving, to give me time to take pictures.

They were still a little frozen when we dug into them, but it wasn’t a bad thing: the cream tasted a little like frozen yogurt. I did like the orange tian, but if I make this again, I would definitely try more complex flavours. However, I do love the concept, and I want to thank Jennifer for introducing us to it. It's a very good-looking, fresh-tasting dessert that is sure to make an impression on guests!

So, um, better late than never?


  1. Good for you for freezing it longer...wish I had. Your tian looks great and variations would make it fun indeed. Yes better late then never :-D

  2. There it is!! It turned out soo beautiful..perfect orange supremes, perfectly molded cream and gorgeous dripping caramel. Oh, great photos too! I'm going to make the ornge tian again later because I hate the way mine turned out. Well, I have leftover heavy cream and oranges, so why not? lol

  3. Your tian looks great and very well constructed, the whipped cream held out superbly! I can also see the marmalade peeping out in the pictures, lovely. And yes, better late than never, that's one of my mottos in my DB career since i'm usually always late.

  4. Never mind being late, you did a perfect job of these!! I haven't had time at all to make any of it, so I will be later then late... Planning on making them for easter actually. Is it still allowed to post a daring baker challenge THAT late..? The good thing is that at least I get to learn from the best.. :) And you're so right, better late then never..!

  5. It looks perfect to me. Actually I think it is quite beautiful. You did a great job with the challenge. Kudos.

  6. You made it! It looks fantastic! I loved this dessert, and this just makes me want to make it all over again, unlike the new challenge! I want to try this with raspberries next time:)

  7. Well, it is better to be late than not taking part in the challenge at all. Your tian looks fresh and delicious. Your photo captured the best moment of the dripping caramel, just love it!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  8. Your tian looks very tasty, Valérie!!

    A job well executed!! I wish you & your family a Happy easter!

  9. I came onto DK just after this challenge had been posted, and wish I had gotten to do it!!! I still may try it ;)
    Yours looks great!!!!