Sometimes things just come together even better than you had ever imagined. I had an imagine in my mind of this tart and I was pretty sure it was going to taste great. What I wasn't prepared for was it turning out to be probably the best thing I have ever eaten. I'm not even joking. The pastry is light and super crumbly, the cheesecake filling is soft, luscious and creamy, the orange curd it tangy and melts in your mouth, and the candied blood orange slices not only look beautiful but add the slight bitter sweetness of candied peel (because, yes, you can eat the peel and, yes, it's delicious!).
I had originally planned to make this using only blood oranges, a blood orange curd with candied blood oranges on top. Foolishly, I didn't think this through and I only bought 2 blood oranges. When I realised that I would need more, I went back but they were sadly sold out at my fruit shop. So I made the curd using a regular naval orange and used the blood orange slices as the candied garnish. I actually think it's rather lovely because of the bright colour contrast, but if you have plenty of blood oranges then feel free to substitute blood orange into the curd as well, I'm sure it will be amazing.
There are four separate parts to make for this tart, but they are all quite straight forward so it's not too hard and it doesn't actually take too long. It's also conveniently no-bake, so just pop it in the fridge once you're done and it's ready to go. You could also make this in a round cake tin as a cheesecake, but I would recommend doubling everything and probably tripling the cheesecake filling.
Blood Orange Curd Vegan Cheesecake Tart
250g light digestive biscuits (or other plain vegan biscuits)
2 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup nuttelex (or other vegan margarine), melted
150g vegan cream cheese
2 tbsp marmalade
2 blood oranges
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Vegan Orange Curd
Zest of 1 orange (hint: zest before juicing!)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (should be about 1 naval orange)
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 heaped tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric (just for colour, if you make with blood oranges then leave this out)
1. Process the biscuits in a food processor until they become crumbs. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the zest, cinnamon and melted margarine. Mix well.
2. Lightly grease your tart tin and then tip the biscuit crumbs in. Use your fingers to firmly press it up onto the sides of the tin to create an even later. Then spread out the remaining crumbs over the base and press down firmly with your fingers to create an even base.
3. In a bowl, whisk or beat together the vegan cream cheese and the marmalade. Spread evenly over the biscuit base.
4. Now set that aside and make the curd: Combine all the curd ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk well to combine. The cornstarch will be lumpy at first, but if you keep whisking the lumps with go (it's ok if there are just a few remaining, they'll cook out). If you want to avoid all that whisking then I guess you could use a blender.
5. Place the small saucepan over a medium heat. Whisking constantly, heat it for about 2 minutes - or until the contents of the pan are hot but not simmering or boiling (if it starts to simmer, reduce the heat immediately!). Once hot, reduce the heat and continue stirring for another 3-5 minutes. The curd will thicken suddenly quite a lot. Once this happens remove from the heat (still stirring) and pour straight onto the cream cheese layer. Use a knife to spread it out and smooth it over the top.
6. Heat the cup of sugar and the cup of water in a saucepan until dissolved. Thinly slice the whole blood oranges and simmer the slices in the syrup for about 5 minutes (you may need to do this in batches). Use these slices to decorate the top of the tart and then drizzle about 1-2 tbsp of the syrup over the top.
7. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.