blood orange curd rye shortbread bars

everyone says that january is never-ending, but for my family, february has been a month. a very, very long month. this is one of the first recipes i worked on when the month first started and im only just now remembering to post it! after rounds and rounds of sickness, im hesitantly hopeful we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. i would be remiss if i didn’t share this recipe with you, as it is so delicious and pretty darn easy to make. so before all the beautiful blood oranges (moro, specifically) give way to the next season, make these blood orange curd rye shortbread bars.

these bars are made from

lets talk about the two components of these bars:

blood orange curd– similar to a lemon curd in preparation and texture, its a slightly sweeter version (with a touch of bitterness) than traditional lemon curd. due to their sweetness, i decided to bring a bit of lemon juice to help bring out more tartness for balance. you can use ay variety of blood oranges available to you, but i love the deep ruby color of the moro variety. their season goes through march, so you should still be able to find them pretty easily.

rye shortbread crust- this crust is a super simple press in crust. the rye brings a slight earthy taste which is balanced out by the sugar and butter. it reminds me of a shortbread, but with a grownup flavor. the rye perfectly pairs with the sweet, slightly tart and rich curd.

blood orange curd bars

in a few words

I would describe these blood orange curd rye shortbread bars as
  • sweet
  • slightly tart
  • creamy
  • slightly earthy
  • citrusy
  • punchy
  • beautifully ruby hued
  • buttery

let’s add this to your shopping list

  • light or medium rye flour or almond flour
  • powdered sugar
  • blood oranges (moro blood oranges are plentiful were I live)
  • unsalted butter
  • eggs
  • salt
  • super fine or caster sugar (or pulse granulated sugar in a food processor for 45-60 seconds)
  • lemon juice

from these ingredients you will make rye (or almond) shortbread crust, blood orange curd and candied blood orange slices

baking tools

while simple and made with a handful of ingredients, you will need to take care while making the curd. these are the tools I like best for this:
blood orange curd bars

how to make candied blood orange slices

these are purely for aesthetics! but they’re fun to make and eat, here’s how you make them:
  • slice 1-2 medium sized blood oranges using a mandolin
    • you can also slice them as thinly as possible by hand using a sharp knife
  • combine 1 c sugar, 3/4 c water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a sauce pan.
  • heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved
  • add the thinly sliced blood orange (1-2 oranges, ~ 8-10 slices)
  • simmer gently for 16-20 minutes
  • oranges should be slightly translucent and rinds should be soft
  • remove from heat to cool on wax paper on a cooling rack at room temperature
  • move to chill in the fridge an additional 2-3 hours

a few tips for the best bars

substitutions for this recipe:
  • all purpose flour: rye is a bit polarizing in its flavor. if you’d like to use all purpose instead:
    • swap with 1 1/2 c (180g) AP flour
    • follow the recipe as written with this substitution
  • almond flour: to make this grain free, opt for almond flour instead of rye or AP flour
    • swap with 2 c (192g) almond flour
    • follow the recipe as written with this substitution
  • blood orange: use any citrus in place of the blood orange
    • the pink color comes from the blood oranges, specially the moro variety
    • you could even do a combination of several citruses, but the color will be more yellow/orange than pink
tips and tools:
  • bain marie: this is the best way to avoid curdled eggs in your curd
    • i used a glass bowl fitted on top of a medium size pot and a silicone whisk
  • make ahead: the curd can be made up to 3 days in advance
    • pour the curd into an airtight container
    • chill in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble
    • allow the curd to warm to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes)
    • follow the recipe as written
blood orange curd bars
blood orange curd bars
blood orange curd bars

other delicious curd based recipes

blood orange curd rye shortbread bars

Megan
a sweeter, less tart version of the classic lemon curd, this to make blood orange curd tops a rye shortbread crust. these gorgeous, ruby hued bars are the perfect way to enjoy blood oranges at their peak
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Chill Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8X8 pan

Equipment

  • 8" square cake pan
  • heat proof bowl
  • mesh strainer
  • parchment paper
  • medium sauce pan

Ingredients
  

rye shortbread crust

  • 1 1/2 c rye flour (180g)
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar (40g)
  • zest from 1 blood orange
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

blood orange curd

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3/4 c caster or superfine sugar (165g)
  • 1/2 c freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • zest from one blood orange, optional
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • candied orange slices for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F, line pan with parchment paper, leaving 2" excess on at least two sides (for easy release). Lightly grease sides of the pan with butter. I use a pastry brush dipped in some of the melted butter. Combine all crust ingredients in a bowl, mixing until the dough comes together. Press into prepared pan, working across the bottom of the pan. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper, cut the 1" larger than diameter of the pan. Line with pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack until ready to be filled with the curd. Reduce heat to 325F.
  • In a seperate, heat proof bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Once combined, whisk in blood orange, lemon juice and zest. Take the entire bowl and place on top of a pot filled with 1" of water. Using a bain marie, or double boiler method, heat curd mixture over medium- high heat, stirring frequently to ensure the eggs don't curdle. Continue to stir until the curd forms into a thick, almost pudding like consistency (about 10-20 minutes). The curd should fully coat the back of a spatula or spoon without running off.
  • As soon as the mixture thickens, add the cubes of butter. Stir quickly to fully combine/melt the butter into the curd. Press through mesh strainer, into another bowl, container or directly onto the prepared crust. Return filled crust to the oven. Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes, or until the curd sets with a slight giggle. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack to room temperature, about an hour. Chill the tart in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Top with powdered sugar right before serving.
    Other suggested toppings: candied blood orange slices, powdered sugar or italian meringue (using the lefover egg whites)
Keyword blood orange curd, easy citrus bars, easy entertaining, rye shortbread
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