Leave it to Charcutepalooza to leave me with duck on the brain. Next step is to think of something that is winter seasonal that goes with duck, and so becomes the inspiration for Duck a l'orange Tartlet.
I wanted this to have a unique presentation. So I cut pie dough into rounds (3.5 inches). Then I used a small round cutter ring to make a base of orange supremes. The zest of the orange was primarily used to steep in milk that was used in orange pastry cream. I had coincidentally seen this in a Martha Stewart recipe online not too long ago. I just wanted to really step up the orange flavor. This pastry cream was the next layer, and is based on an Alice Waters recipe I started using a while back. Then I crisped up some shredded duck leg confit. The remaining orange zest was candied and used as a garnish along with dried pomegranate seeds.
My friends pick on my for off the wall recipe ideas, but I liked this one. I would recommend that a smaller amount of pastry cream per tart is used than in the picture. Hope you all enjoy the idea.
Pie dough: Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter/lard pieces until the texture is sand-like with different sized butter clumps. Pour in 2 Tablespoons cold water and mix until dough forms larger clumps. I add up to 2 more Tablespoons to get the dough to the point where it can be compressed into a disk. Then cool for a couple hours in the fridge.
Pastry Cream: Heat milk until steaming, and steep 3/4 of the zest off the orange (avoid pith) for 5-10 minutes covered (remove zest). Beat egg yolks with sugar until thickened and pale yellow, add cornstarch and flour and and continue to beat until well mixed. Temper the egg mixture with hot milk 1/4 cup at a time while stirring until all the milk has been combined with eggs. Place over medium low heat and bring to a simmer stirring constantly until smooth and thick (careful of splatters). Remove from heat and butter and salt. Cover with cling wrap right on surface of cream in an airtight container in fridge.
Candied zest: Finely julienne remaining orange zest (again, avoid pith). Then blanch in water (start with cold), and drain. Next, heat 1 cup sugar and .5 cup water to dissolve sugar and bring to a simmer. Add zest and simmer for 10 minutes. Then using a candy thermometer, I got the syrup up to 225 degrees and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Rest of a rack until dry/cool and spring with some sugar (optional).
Duck: Got some at a nice market, although if this contest was a couple weeks later the ducks in the fridge might have been ready. Shred about 1 oz per tartlet and crisp a minute at medium high heat on each side in a little of the duck fat.
Cut rounds of pie dough, then using a smaller ring assemble tarts in preferred order. Again a little less pastry cream per tart, and I might reverse the cream and orange slices next time. If you like a little more sweetness you can save the syrup from the candied zest to drizzle.