Daring Bakers: Orange Tian
This orange tian was not one of the prettiest desserts to ever come out of my kitchen, but it was one of the most refreshing and tastiest.
The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.
I had not heard of an orange tian before. I hadn’t heard of any kind of tian before, actually. My lack of knowledge demanded a Google search. A search of “tian” will give you some interesting results. According to wiki, tian (Chinese: 天; literally “Sky or heaven, heavens; god, gods”) is one of the oldest Chinese terms for the cosmos and a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophy, and religion.
In the culinary world, however, tian is a French term “describing a type of cooking vessel used in the Alpes-Maritimes area of France. It is traditionally made from red clay and can be either glazed or unglazed. A modern tian can come lidded or not and sometimes has a looped handle on one side.
The vessel is used to cook a traditional braised vegetable stew also called tian. The unglazed vessels, filled with root and winter vegetables along with wine or rinds of cheese, were placed in the hot ashes of a fire and left to stew all day in gentle heat, somewhat like a Dutch oven.” You can read more here on wiki.
In this case, a tian is a dish composed of layers of ingredients. Many that I have found in my searches are vegetable tians and can be either hot or cold.
No vegetables or rinds of cheese are found this in this dish. This tian is a layer of orange segments, whipped cream, and orange maramlade with a base of rich pate sablee. The layers create not only a lovely presentation, but a great combination of flavors and textures. It tasted incredible.
This challenge, not unlike other challenges, was not without its share of hiccups.
- I over baked the pate sablee resulting in a large cookie that cracked upon removal from the baking sheet.
- I am no pro when it comes to segmenting oranges, so there were a few stray pieces of membrane in there. Check out this video on you tube for some tips.
- The whipped cream with the gelatin was super confusing, and I’m not sure if I did it right. I think it should have set up more? I just had to kind of go with it. It turned out OK…I think.
- I used a sheet pan to form the tian that I was sure would fit in the freezer. I was wrong. So, I had to transfer the dessert to another pan by sliding the silpat from the big pan to a smaller one. Sounds easy, right? Well, both pans had lips and so in this moving process some of the juices escaped and my cookie got a few more cracks. At least the cookie would end up at the bottom.
After that, I let the tian set for about an hour. When I flipped it out onto a platter it was beautiful! Not perfect, but not falling apart either. So, while this orange tian was not a complete success, it was not a failure.