Oranges & Cream – Orange Tian: Daring Bakers Challenge March, 2010

Oranges & Cream – Orange Tian: Daring Bakers Challenge March, 2010

Life seems quiet after the fun and excitement of hosting last month’s challenge . Still, it’s good to be back to the routine of wondering what this month’s host is going to challenge us with, and just how I would go about the business of substituting and executing it. And this month’s challenge lived up to my expectations by introducing me to something new, once again.

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 never ever heard of a Tian and the name doesn’t give away anything.

I did a little internet search and all I could see was layered savoury versions of the Tian, nothing sweet. It turns out that it’s a layered dessert. In this citrusy version it is made up of a pate sablée with orange marmalade, a flavoured (again with maramalade) and stabilized whipped cream, topped with fresh orange segments. The Tian is served with caramel and orange sauce.

One builds this dessert upside down in a mould and then unmoulds it upside down so the bottom layer is now the topmost layer!

We had to make the pate sablée, our own citrus marmalade, the caramel sauce and stabilize our whipped cream.

As usual, we were given creative freedom within the challenge. We could use either the given recipe or one of our choice for the pate sablée. Size and presentation was up to us. Chice of citrus for the marmalade as well as flavouring in the whipped cream was also left to us.

Oranges & Cream – Orange Tian: Daring Bakers Challenge March, 2010

I didn’t have any problems with this challenge, and the whole thing was a breeze. I chose to stick with the recipe and not experiment with flavours as I wanted to know what the given recipe would taste like.

My Orange Tian Making Experience:

This Orange Tian is meant to serve 6; I needed to make 5 servings but had only 4 ring moulds. So I made 4 Tians (is the plural Tian or Tians?) using the mould and one free form Tian!

The orange marmalade**:

I had planned to make this ahead of time, so went shopping for oranges and bought them. As it would happen, I couldn’t make the marmalade till a couple of days later, when I discovered that half my oranges had been eaten by my family who had no idea I was planning to turn them into marmalade.

I had to go shopping a second time for oranges and it was a lucky thing I did go then, because I haven’t seen those oranges at the market since. It seems I had managed to lay my hands on the last lot of the season!

I used only a little over half the sugar in the recipe as my oranges were so sweet in themselves. I also left out the gelatin, but the marmalade thickened up pretty well on its own.

The pate sablée:

This is a buttery, tender and rather crumbly sand-like tart dough (sablée means sandy). It's somewhat like shortbread and good to use for filling with fruit, custard or chocolate.

We were supposed to roll out the dough and cut out circles to fit into our moulds.

I had small ring moulds, so I just divided the dough into 8 and pressed each portion lightly and evenly into the ring moulds.

This meant that I didn’t have scraps from rolling out the dough.

Yes, I got 8 round perfectly almost crumbly “biscuits” from this dough. That wasn’t a problem as I used 5 of them for making the dessert and the other 3 were “tasted” rather efficiently by my husband and our daughter!

The orange segments and the orange caramel sauce:

The most painful (or should I say boringly time-consuming?) part of this challenge, for me, was cutting up the oranges into segments for the topmost layer of the Tian.

I also think I didn’t really wait to caramelize the sugar before I poured in the orange juice, as my sauce was sweet but I couldn’t get the caramel taste in it. That’s not to say the sauce wasn’t good.

Stabilizing the whipped cream:

I have never stabilized whipped cream before, so this was a first for me. Since we don’t use gelatin I used agar instead, and I must say the cream was really stable. It was stable enough for me to build a free form Orange Tian (the right way up) and the cream could take the weight of the orange slices without collapsing!

Oranges & Cream – Orange Tian: Daring Bakers Challenge March, 2010

This is something that I’m so happy about because its tough enough to whip 25% fat cream (which is all we get here) stiff enough without the heat and humidity of our tropical climate melting it down!

Assembling the Tian was easy. No problems here. I put them into the freezer for a couple of hours before unmoulding. Then I froze them again for 3 days before serving.


An easy to make, unusual yet nice dessert with the oranges giving it a fruity and summery feel. Also a perfect dessert for warm summer evenings. Ther’s not much that is surprising or flamboyant about it, but we did enjoy the flavour and texture combinations of the various layers. Juicy and fruity on the top, creamy and soft in the middle and buttery shortbread-like base.

Would I make it again?

I probably would, provided someone else did the segmenting of those oranges! Or I would use some other fruit to save myself the effort.

Do please check out the rather interesting marmalades and beautiful Tians that many of my more Daring friends have made.

The detailed challenge recipe can be found on Jennifer’s blog