Blood Orange & Cardamom Tart

The shining star & highlight of the winter citrus season for me has got to be blood oranges. A somewhat gruesome name for what is actually a beautifully coloured, sweet little citrus fruit. These thick skinned oranges may look like regular oranges from the outside but inside lies a brilliantly blushing crimson red flesh.

blood orange cardamom tart

This distinctive blood red colour is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a naturally occurring pigment that is common in flowers & fruits like raspberries & blueberries, but actually uncommon in citrus fruit. Much in the same way that the skin of a lemon ripens from green to yellow, the flesh of the blood orange develops & ripens when the fruits are subject to warm days tempered by low night time temperatures.

blood orange cardamom tart

Each year, I eagerly anticipate the return of blood oranges to the market (I mean, we’ve all got a food calendar right?). They have a very short season with the most common variety found in the UK, the Moro, only available from mid January to February, it’s a real treat not to be missed. Aside from their boujee good looks, blood oranges tend to be easier to peel, have fewer seeds & have a sweeter taste than regular oranges, making them my perfect choice for some baking experiments in the kitchen.

blood orange cardamom tart

Being the baking geek that I am, I continuously get overly excited by the prospect of a new seasonal delight to play around with (yes, it’s the little things in life right now). Blood oranges are one of those brief moments in the calendar, so each year I aim to create a brand new recipe out of them. This year’s treat is a beautiful, sweet, creamy blood orange & cardamom tart that really showcases this seasonal fruit, you really don’t want to miss out on the chance to try this one.

blood orange cardamom tart

(makes one 23cm tart)


For the pastry:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 120g wholemeal flour
  • 5 tbsp icing sugar
  • 120g butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 – 3 tbsp cold water

For the filling:

  • Zest & juice of 4 blood oranges
  • 5 large eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cardamom

Optional – For the decoration:

  • 1 blood orange, sliced thinly
  • 100ml water
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Small handful of pistachios or pumpkin seeds


  • To make the pastry begin by combining sifting together the flours & icing sugar into a large bowl
  • Add in the cubed butter to the bowl & using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg yolk to the bowl & use a spoon to stir through
  • Next add in 1 tbsp of water & stir through, continue to add water sparingly, only adding 1 tbsp at a time, just enough until the mixture starts to clump together
  • Use your hands to finish bringing the mixture together to form a dough
  • Flatten the dough into a shallow disc shape, cover in a beeswax wrap or some cling film & chill in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes (you could even do this the day before)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C & roll out the pastry into a round, to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin, one large enough to fill a 22cm round tart tin
  • Line your tin with the pastry, leaving the excess to hang over the edges of the tin
  • Next, use a fork to prick small holes all over the bottom of your pastry
  • Place a sheet of baking parchment in the pastry case & fill with baking beans or rice
  • Blind bake the pasty for 10 minutes, remove the beans & parchment & continue to bake for a further 5 minutes until slightly golden in colour
  • Remove the tin from the oven & allow to cool for 10 minutes before trimming off the excess pastry overhanging the sides of the tin
  • Turn down the temperature on the oven to 120C
  • To make the filling, simply whisk all of the  ingredients together in large bowl, making sure that everything is well combined
  • Once the oven has cooled, place the pastry case back into the oven on a low shelf & very carefully pour in the filling
  • Bake the tart for 45-50 minutes until the filling is just set, but with a slight wobble
  • Leave to cool completely in its tin before removing

For the decoration:

  • To make the candied blood orange slices, begin by slicing the orange quite thinly
  • Put the slices into a medium sized saucepan along with the sugar & water
  • Gently heat everything until the sugar has completely dissolved
  • Bring the mixture up to the boil & continue to boil for 5 – 10 minutes until the sugar & water have become thick & syrupy
  • Carefully remove the orange slices, allowing any excess liquid to fall away & place on a piece of parchment to dry & cool before decorating the tart
  • Arrange the orange slices on top of the tart before finishing with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios or pumpkin seed (makes for a lovely contrast in colour)
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