It’s the holidays, and there’s always all kinds of random in the pantry and the fridge. Especially in the weeks following thanksgiving, I feel like there has to be some buttermilk lurking in the fridge. Abandoned after the mashed potatoes are long gone, and the pancake brunch is over. Left to sit and contemplate its existence in the back of the fridge, waiting for its potential to be unlocked.
Or, you’re like me, and you just always have it around. It’s really useful, doesn’t go bad quickly, and is only sold in quarts or up to the average consumer. I don’t find that having buttermilk on hand is really a problem at all.
Moving on, this tart is just delicious, the cookie like crust, and honeycomb candy give a good crunch to the soft, and tangy custard. Let’s begin.
- 3 ounces white sugar
- zest of one orange, no white pith please
- 8 ounces flour
- pinch salt
- 4 ounces butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 yolks
- 1 ounce of fresh squeeze orange juice
In a food processor, combine butter, flour, sugar, salt and zest. Pulse until it pea sized chunks of butter remain. Add in the yolks, and orange juice, and pulse until a dough forms. Shape into a 6-inch round, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in your refrigerator for one hour. Meanwhile let’s make some honey comb candy.
- 120 grams water
- 40 grams honey
- 70 grams light corn syrup
- 200 grams sugar
- 15 grams baking soda
In a 6 quart Dutch oven, combine the water, honey, corn syrup and sugar. Whisk gently, to combine, no splashing. Attach a candy thermometer, and keep an eye on it, we’re looking for 300 degrees. We need a landing pad, so I recommend an 18’’ by 13’’ rimmed baking sheet. Line it with a silpat, this is essential. When you’re at 280 degrees, get your gloves on, have the landing pad right next to you. When we add the soda things are going to go QUICKLY. At 295, plop in the soda, and whisk, whisk, whisk, wearing your gloves, making sure to not get steam burns. When just combined, pour the molten hot lava onto your silpat gently, and quickly. Let harden, about 2 hours. Chop into rough pieces for snacking, and smaller for garnish. Store in an airtight container in a not moist place. Candy plus moisture equals sticky, melty nightmares.
blind baking, buttermilk custard, and bringing it all together
- 2 ounces melted cooled butter
- one vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 8 ounces honey
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 9-inch tart pan
- tart weights
Grab your 9-inch tart pan, and lightly spritz with some cooking spray. Roll the dough out to just under a quarter inch thick. Roll the dough back onto the pin, and roll back over the tart pan, centering it. Press into the pan, and make the edges pretty. If there’s a tear, no big deal. This is a very forgiving dough, and you can easily patch it up. Once we’re in the pan, and looking neat, chill that piece in the fridge for about a half an hour. This will give us time to preheat the oven, and mise out the filling.
Once the oven is hot, place a sheet of parchment paper in the center, and fill it with pie weights of your choice. I like rice, the small grains just work for me. I also have a little PTSD from blind baking on an industrial scale and the hot bean smell just got to me. Blind bake the tart for 15 minutes. Remove the weights, and bake for an additional 5 to fully set the bottom.
While you’re blind baking, make the super easy filling. Whisk together butter and vanilla bean seeds. Break them up really well. Whisk in the honey, and eggs. Whisk in the buttermilk. Pour out a quarter of the mixture, and whisk in the flour, and pour that slurry back into your filling.
When the tart is finished blind baking, remove it from the oven, and place it on a sheet tray. This just makes moving something with a liquid filling easier then balancing the little tart pan. I think that’s an example of what the youths call a “pro-tip”. Pour your filling in, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.
If you plan on eating the whole tart immediately, garnish with as much candy as you want. However, as we discussed before, if you garnish the whole jammer, and only eat a slice, the next day, all the candy will have dissolved into a puddle. So you can choose to garnish by slice if that’s easier.
Since it’s a cold tart, this is a great “bring to a holiday party” thing. It will also be a relief to your host from the usual shower of cookies, and candy canes.
Happy Holiday baking!