Blood Orange Broken Heart Tarts (gluten-free)

These tarts are nothing but trouble, but they are delicious.    In the process of testing and making these tarts I made them three times and they never behaved the same way twice.   I feel that I should warn you that these tarts are stunning and delicious but also volatile and unpredictable.  They are best enjoyed shared with a friend right out of the tart tin with a shot of whisky, or crumbled over ice cream.

I made these last year when I was creating darkly decadent tarts for a  valentine’s themed event for fabulous women.  Don’t worry, I made many, many treats for the valentine’s event and all of the rest of them were beautiful and delightful love affairs.  These tarts were set out, already broken, later in the night once the guests had drunk a lot of champagne, enjoyed a lecture on letter writing, crafted their own valentines and listened to a musical performance.

I’m sharing the recipe, despite it’s problems, because there is something wonderful about a tumultuous and less than ideal tart for Valentine’s day and I will very likely make them again!  Also, lets face it.  It’s been a year of heartbreak and we are not through it yet.

photo by Rose Callahan  

This is a new gluten-free tart crust recipe for me.  It’s from Flavor Flours baking guru Alice Medrich’s gluten-free cookbook.   It’s intended to be the sort of crust that you pre-bake and then fill with pastry cream and I messed with it by filling it with curd and baking it filled.  I feel like I should point out that this crust recipe is flawless when you use it as written.  I also pre-baked another batch and filled them with pomegranate curd (no extra baking) and it worked like a dream.  It also gets points for having an astonishing buttery caramel flavor and only calling for two kinds of flour.

BLOOD ORANGE BROKEN HEART TARTS (makes 12 four inch heart tarts)

CRUSTS (adpted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich)

  • 2 and 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 24 Tablespoons (3 sticks ) of slightly softened butter cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Grease 12 four inch tart tins.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the chunks of butter, cream cheese, water and vanilla.  Use a fork or the back of a spoon to mix and mash everything into a smooth, soft dough.
  3. Divide into 12 even lumps (each lump will be 3 oz).  Use your fingers to press each lump of  dough evenly into the bottom of the tart tins. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough.  Use a flat bottom measuring cup to press the dough from the center and toward and up the sides of the tin.  I found that for a heart shaped tin, a flat bottom oval shaped measuring cup  worked the best!  Work the  cup around the bottom and the the sides and into the corners until everything is evenly lined, then level of off the top edges.  Leave the plastic in place.  Refrigerate the tarts for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.


  • 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • zest and strained juice from 3 blood oranges (about 2/3 cup juice)
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into chunks
  • 5 egg yolks
  • The juice of 1 lemon (optional)
  1. Over a medium  flame dissolve 1/4 cup  of the sugar with the zest, juice and butter in a sauce pan.
  2. In a bowl whisk the eggs and the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar.
  3. Remove the juice mixture from the stove and mix the eggs in to the sauce pan until they are completely combined.
  4. Return the pan to a low flame.  Keep mixing with a wooden spoon, never allowing it to boil, for about 10 minutes.  Taste as you go and, if needed, add the juice of one lemon to achieve the desired tartness.
  5. When it is thick enough coat the back of the spoon transfer it to a jar and store in the fridge.


  • 3 blood oranges, thinly sliced for decoration
  • sugar to sprinkle on top
  1. Position a rack in the lover third of your oven and preheat to 325. Peel the plastic off of the tarts and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes then check on the tart shells. They will probably have puffed up or lost their shape a bit. Use the same flat bottomed measuring cup to press the bottom down and the sides back up.
  2. Fill each tart shell with 2 Tablespoons of the curd. Decorate with a few slices of blood orange and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown and the dough has pulled away from the sides of the tins.
  4. Let the tart shells cool completely on a wrack before attempting to unmold. They will probably break. It’s ok. Deal with your broken heart by eating them late at night with shots of whisky or crumble them on vanilla icecream.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Glenda says:

    Looks like a short crust recipe. I’ve never seen cream cheese in a crust before! ❤️

  2. Geri Lawhon says:

    Great looking valentine dish.

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