Recipe developer and author of the upcoming The Book on Pie Erin McDowell knows a thing or two about pies and tarts. So while these orange and chocolate brioche tarts don’t look like traditional tarts, we trust her when she says they are, in fact, tarts.
“People think that a pie or tart has to have pie or tart crust,” McDowell tells us. “It does not! Anything that has a crust is a pie! I’m dropping some real truth here. With that in mind, I love to use brioche dough to make tarts.”
With these cuties, we used blood oranges because they’re so pretty, but McDowell assures “you can use any kind of oranges: Cara Cara, navel, mandarin, really anything goes.” You can peel the oranges if you don’t like bitter flavors, but since they’re such thin slices, feel free to leave the rinds on because, as McDowell says, “the bitterness goes well with the chocolate. The bottom of the brioche gets crisp like a pie or tart crust, but it’s also chewier and doughier on the top, which I love.”
Proof that anything can be pie if you have the right mindset.
2½ cups (300g) bread flour
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
2 large eggs (113g), lightly whisked
½ cup (113g) cold whole milk
7 ounces (198g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Egg wash, as needed for finishing
Granulated sugar or vanilla sugar, as needed for finishing
6 ounces (170g) good quality dark chocolate, cut into ½-ounce (14g) pieces
2 oranges or blood oranges (about 290g) peeled if desired, thinly sliced
Flaky salt, as needed for finishing
1. Make the Brioche: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour, granulated sugar and salt on low speed to combine. Add the yeast and mix to combine, 10 to 15 seconds more. Add the eggs and milk, and mix for 4 minutes. The dough should form a sticky, shaggy ball around the hook.
2. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, being careful to fully incorporate each addition before adding the next. The entire process should take about 3 minutes. (If you add the butter too quickly, it can make the dough greasy, so pace it out.) Scrape the bowl down once or twice to make sure everything is homogeneous. (This mixing period is called intense mixing—and it is! Don’t be alarmed if the mixing is noisy or difficult in the early to mid-stages; it will come together.) Mix the dough until it is smooth and uniform, 1 minute more.
3. Grease a large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
4. Assemble the Tarts: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ½ inch thick. Use a 3½-inch round cutter to cut the dough, transferring each piece to one of the prepared baking sheets. Stagger the rounds to give each about 1½ inches of space. You should end up with 15 tarts. Cover both trays with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
5. Gently egg wash each round, and sprinkle sugar generously over the surface of each. Place one piece of chocolate in the center of each round, then divide the orange slices among them (2 or 3 slices on each tart), covering the chocolate (though no need to be precise).
6. Sprinkle more sugar over the surface of the fruit, and top with a pinch of salt. Transfer the trays to the oven and bake until the dough is deeply golden brown and the fruit is tender, 25 to 30 minutes, swapping the baking sheets’ rack placement halfway through baking. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving warm, or cool completely and serve at room temperature (but really, serve them warm).