The dessert is made of several layers: a pâte sablée with orange marmalade, a flavored whipped cream topped with fresh orange segments and served with a caramel and orange sauce. You build the dessert upside down, freeze it briefly, and then unmold the dessert so that the bottom layer (the orange segments) becomes the top layer.
I spent parts of two days making this dessert. On the first day I segmented the oranges, a "first" for me. I went online to watch a YouTube instructional video in order to learn the skill. It's not all that difficult, but was fairly time consuming and messy (I had orange juice running down my arms and off my elbows!) to do all eight of the oranges called for in this recipe. But it was worth it, for when I was done I had the most beautiful bowlful of pure, pithless, membraneless orange segments that I've ever seen.
On day-one I also cooked up the orange caramel sauce, since the segmented oranges needed to marinate overnight in half of the sauce. And, finally, I made the orange marmalade.
I have never cared for orange marmalade, but this homemade version was really good. The thin-sliced orange (just one orange) was blanched three times (bring to a boil, simmer for ten minutes, pour off the hot water, add fresh cold water, and start over -- times three). This is what takes the bitterness out of the orange peel, and it ended up sweet with almost no bitterness.
The next day I baked the pâte sablée (a rich, sweet tart pastry) and whipped up the orange flavored whipped cream, which also had gelatin as a component.
Putting it together, after all the parts were prepared, was quick and easy. The tian went into the freezer for awhile, and then was unmolded. I held my breath on this step, hoping that it would come out of the spring-form cake pan in one beautiful piece. And it did!
I put it back into the freezer while I heated up the remaining caramel sauce, and then sliced two pieces - one for Dan and one for me - and drizzled the caramel sauce over top.
It is a refreshing dessert, probably best suited for a summer evening. It isn't in the running for my favorite Daring Baker dessert, but it was fun to do, posed some new challenges, and was definitely a treat for the eyes. This would be an easy recipe to vary -- using peaches, strawberries or cherries, for instance, instead of fresh oranges. I think I might like it better, in fact, made with a different fruit.