Winter Citrus Tart

The prettiest, delicious Winter Citrus Tart with shortcrust for your winter Monday baking needs! This is not like any other tart you’ve had before, trust me. It’s like all the wintery citrus dreams have come together to create this instant classic of bright flavors. It has flaky pâte sucrée crust (which is just a super simple shortcrust!) surrounding the creamy, silky, bright, and citrusy custard filling. It’s flaky on the outside, but oh so creamy, rich, and delicious on the inside. The best part? This cute tart is actually very simple to make and is so much fun to decorate! Top with candied citrus, fresh citrus of your choosing (with the rind cut off!), chopped pistachios, whipped mascarpone cream, or glazed fruit. Whatever you choose, this tart will always be gorgeous and delicious!

citrus tart with three slices laying next to it, a cake knife, white napkin, glass, and bowl of citrus slices

About The Recipe

I think it’s pretty safe to say that mom and I have really been loving the winter baking (and no-baking!) so far this year. Something about the little bit colder months just makes us want to head out to the farmers market and find local produce to bake up all things sweet. I guess that and having the oven on keeps the house warm…

Either way, our excitement for winter sweets is at an all time high, but here’s what I’m starting to realize. We tend to do a lot of chocolate in the winter. Not that is a bad thing per-say, but this time of year is definitely when we need to be looking around locally to see what’s in season…and what’s more in season right now than a whole lot of citrus?

We actually received a huge gift box full of fruit and, you guessed it, citrus during Christmas. Now, while most of the fruit is gone, a lot of the citrus remains.

That’s where this tart comes in.

overhead shot of citrus tart with stacked plates, flowers, sliced citrus, a white napkin, and cake knife

The truth is, we aren’t the biggest fans of citrus. Well, me and my mom aren’t. My brother, Ian, on the other hand…he would eat all things orange and lemon until it ran out his ears. Honestly, he has had the time of his life with that gift box, but there is really only so much plain citrus one person can eat. So, my mom and I put our heads together and tried to think of the best and most creative way to use up what we had left.

It really wasn’t long before we decided on a tart.

A tart is something challenging, something we’ve never done on the blog before, and really haven’t made in a couple of years. So, it was almost an immediate yes!

But…which citruses should we use? Well, we had grapefruits and oranges left. So, grapefruit and orange tart it shall be.

But, this recipe was definitely not that easy. Well, not at first. It took two or three times before we finally got it perfect.

The first time the citrus was a bit too much, the second time the custard was a tad under cooked…but the third time really does seem to be the charm! We were a bit skeptical, but we let my brother try a bite and he couldn’t stop raving about it.

From that moment, we knew we had a winner that needed to be shared with all of you!

Oh, and the absolute best part? While citrus may be in season in the winter, this tart can be made all year long!

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

For The Crust:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Salted Butter
  • Eggs
  • Almond Meal
butter, almond flour, baking soda, eggs, flour, and powdered sugar on marble counter

For The Filling:

  • Egg Yolks
  • Corn Starch
  • Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Salted Butter
  • Orange Zest
  • Grapefruit Zest
vanilla bean, orange zest, grapfruit zest, sugar, egg yolks, milk butter, corn start, and cream on marble counter

Instructions

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, powdered sugar, and baking soda together.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or a fork. The mixture should resemble sand or corn meal when finished.

Mix in the egg and egg yolk until the mixture forms a dough.

Knead in the almond flour until the dough is smooth.

Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.

Flour the dough very lightly, along with your rolling pin. Loosely roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer over the tart pan. Gently press down to ensure the dough is filling the whole pan.

Cut away the excess and fill any holes or tears. Prick bottom of the dough with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes are up, remove the dough from the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the crust is just starting to brown. Set aside and let cool completely.

baked shortbread crust

While the crust is cooling, combine the cornstarch, 6 tablespoons sugar, and egg yolks in a small bowl.

In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the rest of the sugar, heavy cream, milk, and vanilla bean. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Slowly pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, stirring constantly.

Return the mixture to the pot and add the grapefruit and orange zest. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Let cook another two minutes. The mixture should be pulling away from the pan as you constantly stir. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Mix until the butter is completely incorporated. The mixture should be thick.

Transfer to a glass baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is completely touching the custard. Refrigerate immediately for at least 30 minutes, or until cool.

Transfer the pastry cream into a large piping bag. Pipe into crust and use an offset spatula to smoothen it out. Decorate as desired and enjoy!

Decorating Ideas

There are so many possibilities with a tart! For photography purposes, I chose fresh citrus and pistachios. Eating-wise, I don’t recommend the fresh sliced citrus because the zest is not edible. But, here are a few things we highly recommend that you can eat!

  • Candied Citrus Slices
  • Chopped Pistachios
  • Fresh Citrus with rind cut off
  • Glazed Fruit

What Kinds of Citrus To Use

For this recipe, we used orange zest and grapefruit zest. We highly recommend these two, but you can really use any combination of or just a single fruit!

citrus tart with slice taken out of it on marble counter with sliced citrus, cake knife, and glass

What To Serve With This Citrus Tart

Looking for something to make this tart even more special? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here’s a few of our favorite things to serve with this delicious winter citrus tart…

How To Store

If you aren’t going to eat this tart the day it’s made, here’s a little tip to make it store better! Melt some white chocolate and brush the baked crust very lightly with it. This will make sure the custard doesn’t soak through.

But, to store this tart, keep in a covered container and in the fridge for 1-2 days. Tarts aren’t really meant to last so, remember this before making!

Expert Tips

  • The real secret to this tart and making sure everything is at the right temperature. Nothing more. Nothing less. It sounds so simple, but it truly makes all the difference in a recipe like this! We highly recommend checking to make sure your oven temperature is accurate and having a thermometer.
  • When the custard starts to thicken, don’t panic! Let it keep cooking for 2 minutes afterwards. It should be very thick before stirring in the butter.
  • Make sure you get all the butter incorporated!
  • The crust doesn’t need to be overly browned. Just lightly browned. Keep an eye on it!
  • Rolling the dough out is the best and easiest way to get an even crust.
  • Any citrus can be used for this recipe.
  • Make sure your tart pan has a removable bottom!

When you make this Winter Citrus Tart, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

citrus tart with three slices laying next to it, a cake knife, white napkin, glass, and bowl of citrus slices

Winter Citrus Tart

Traci
Bright citrus flavors meet a silky smooth pastry cream in this delicious Winter Citrus Tart! Made with simple ingredients, this tart is the perfect bake all year long.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 32 mins
Refrigeration Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 2 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 444 kcal

Ingredients
 

Crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • cup salted butter, sliced
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk
  • ½ cup almond meal

Filling

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 4 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon grapefruit zest

Instructions

Crust

  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, powdered sugar, and baking powder.
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles corn meal.
  • Mix in egg and yolk, working until it forms a rough dough.
  • Add almond flour and knead until it forms a smooth dough.
  • On a piece of parchment paper, roll dough out to 1/4" thickness.
  • Place in a 9-inch tart pan, fitting dough evenly down into pan.
  • Press bottom and sides lightly to ensure dough is filling whole pan.
  • Using a sharp knife, or the edge of the pan, trim excess crust.
  • Prick dough all over the bottom with a fork.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and bake for 12 minutes, just until it's starting to brown on the edges.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Filling

  • Combine egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Stir gently to mix, being careful not to incorporate any air. Set aside.
  • In a heavy sauce pan, bring milk, cream, remaining sugar, and vanilla bean to a boil.
  • Pour one third of milk mixture into egg mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Return to sauce pan over medium low heat.
  • Add zests.
  • Stir continuously.
  • When mixture starts to thicken, switch to a whisk and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Turn off heat and whisk in butter.
  • Remove vanilla bean.
  • Pour into a flat pan and cover immediately with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the top of the pastry cream.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until cool.

Putting It Together

  • Remove tart shell from pan.
  • Pipe pastry cream into shell.
  • Top as desired.

Notes

  • The real secret to this tart and making sure everything is at the right temperature. Nothing more. Nothing less. It sounds so simple, but it truly makes all the difference in a recipe like this! We highly recommend checking to make sure your oven temperature is accurate and having a thermometer.
  • When the custard starts to thicken, don't panic! Let it keep cooking for 2 minutes afterwards. It should be very thick before stirring in the butter.
  • Make sure you get all the butter incorporated!
  • The crust doesn't need to be overly browned. Just lightly browned. Keep an eye on it!
  • Rolling the dough out is the best and easiest way to get an even crust.
  • Any citrus can be used for this recipe.
  • Make sure your tart pan has a removable bottom!

Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 8gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 194mgSodium: 134mgPotassium: 107mgFiber: 1gSugar: 23gVitamin A: 863IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 93mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @abakers_table or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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2 Comments

  1. Can you use the splenda for baking?as a substitute? Do you have recipes that are whole wheat? Trying to stay away from flour …

    1. Hi Julie! Since Splenda is not good for baking, you can’t substitute it for the sugar.

      Yes, I do occasionally make whole grain recipes; but we haven’t actually had any requests for them on the blog. If you are trying to stay away from flour, King Arthur Flour makes some of the best substitutes! But be aware, you generally can’t just substitute one to one for flour. Which means, if the recipe calls for “one cup flour”, you most likely can’t use 1 cup of the substitute. Oh, and the flavor and texture will not be the same! So, when you’re baking, keep this in mind. I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.