Now that spring is officially here, I opened the windows and enjoyed the sounds of my neighborhood. The breeze through the trees, the chirping of the birds…and the scent of our orange tree in full bloom. I love this time of year! It made me want to bake, so inspired by the beautiful sight of oranges all over my tree, I came up with a new spring citrus recipe, and it’s using a fruit you won’t expect!
As you’ve seen, I work frequently with Melissa’s Produce. They provide me with a lot of fresh, quality, gorgeous produce in exchange for posts using some of the items here on the blog. A couple of friends and I decided that we’d all make a unique recipe with each main ingredient, and so far, we’ve done a few vegetable recipes. This time, we wanted to try something new!
Pixie Tangerines are in-season, and they are such a delicious type of tangerine. The zest contains a lot of flavor, and the juice is mildly sweet yet slightly tangy. Usually, after I juice a fruit, I hate to see how much is wasted when I throw away the rind, but after I hand-squeezed the six tangerines used in this recipe, I actually ate the fruit leftover and it was so good! (Weird, I know, but there was a lot of pulp left and it was such a vibrant orange color.)
Ojai Pixie Tangerines are actually a blend of three mandarins. They are small to medium sized and about five of them equal one pound. I used six in my recipes below. (And I have another bag to eat at my desk over the next couple of days! They make the perfect snack and are surprisingly less messy for a tangerine.)
I wanted to make something that showcased the color and scent of the fruit, as well as the flavor. Something light that the whole family would eat and that wouldn’t take someone all day to make. Using my old basic and pretty generic shortbread cookie recipe (made of just three ingredients), I came up with the below soft and buttery cookies.
To take it up a level, I decided to take a simple whole-egg lemon curd and adapt it a bit to tangerines, basically a dip for the cookies. I’d call myself and my husband “foodies,” but I still have things to learn….like how to guarantee my curd will actually set. Some curds have just egg yolks, and some have the whole egg. I think those with just yolks are easier, but I’d successfully made whole egg curd before so I figured I could do it again.
Not so much. As I explain in the notes of the dip recipe below, the curd didn’t set properly. I didn’t want to waste the curd, as it was six luscious tangerines, so I moved on to Plan B. What could I do to salvage it?
Boom. A frosting-ish dip. Or a glaze, depending on the amount of ingredients you choose to use. More on that later, but the dip turned out so good!
Tangerine Shortbread with Citrus Curd Dip
- 1 cup Butter (room temp)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp tangerine juice
- 2 tbsp fresh tangerine zest
- 2 1/2 cup flour
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine butter and sugar together in mixing bowl. (I used a stand mixer, but you can do by hand if you prefer.
Add in juice and zest. Mix until combined.
Pour in flour. Mix just until dough becomes clumpy. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Remove bowl from mixer and pack dough together by hand until you have one big ball.
On floured board, roll out dough with rolling pin approximately 1/4″ thick. Cut by hand (I used a pizza cutter) or use a cookie cutter.
Place cookies on pastry paper or Sil-pat liner on cookie sheet.
Bake for 9-10 minutes. Watch closely; remove when bottoms begin to turn slightly golden.
Next up, the curd dip that almost wasn’t.
Citrus Curd Dip
This tangy but sweet dip, which could also be used as a filling between two of the cookies, was born out of a mistake! We don’t often talk about our errors and mishaps in the kitchen, but they give us opportunities to learn. My curd didn’t set properly after straining, so I changed up the idea and this dip is a good Plan B!
- 1/2 cup fresh tangerine juice
- 2 tbsp tangerine zest
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
Combine juice and zest in small saucepan.
Pour in sugar and using low heat, mix to combine.
Place eggs and egg yolk into mixture over low heat. Combine gently.
Drop in butter, cut into pieces to make it easier to melt.
Whisk everything together and bring to simmer over low-med heat.
Heat until mixture starts to hold its shape on its own. Remove from heat and strain over mixing bowl. (This removes any egg white that has ‘cooked,’ yielding a lumpy-ish curd, as well as excess zest.)
Let mixture cool, approximately 25-30 minutes. (Refrigeration can speed this up.)
Add in lemon juice and powdered sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
As mixture settles, it will thicken and become more of a frosting consistency. If it’s too thick or thin for your preference, add more powdered sugar or a little more lemon juice.
The result of this spring citrus recipe creation is a fun dessert, a nice afternoon snack, an easy addition to someone’s lunch bag or even something simple to serve with wine. The recipes are inexpensive and neither takes very long. The worst part is probably standing over the stove to stir the curd mixture frequently so it doesn’t burn.
Enjoy this delicious dessert tonight, and if you’re looking for another way to use your Pixie tangerines, check out this sweet and salty treat by another wonderful blogger friend of mine. Enjoy!