Clementine Tian (Daring Bakers' Challenge)

Saturday, March 27

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. This refreshing layered dessert consists of a pâte sablée with clementine marmalade, lightly flavoured whipped cream, clementine segments, and a clementine caramel sauce (shown below.) I chose to use clementines in place of oranges because I love them and there were all I had in my refrigerator.

Thank you Jennifer! You were the perfect hostess. I had not heard of this dessert before the challenge, yet it turned out to be something I defiantly would have wanted to make had I sampled it at a restaurant. Citrus infused dishes and drinks are rejuvenating zesty harbingers of Spring and the warm months ahead. However, I will never segment another clementine again, Ever. Unless a very specific offer is placed on the table.

This was not a difficult recipe at all, and if you don't have to deal with precision slicing tiny, round, slippery, clementines, It's actually quite fun. Just stick with the nice, sturdy oranges. The bottom layer is very easy to make. The pâte sablée doesn't even have to be pressed into a tart pan, nor does it require any baking weights. You just roll it out, use a cookie cutter, and place the pieces on a sheet. Making the marmalade simply requires some blanching, peeling, mincing, and cooking. The part which had me the most worried was the caramel, especially since it turned into an angry, solid mass of titanium when I tried to prepare it for the Dobos torte. I'm perectly fine with making a creamy caramel sauce, but cooking pure sugar is still daunting. For some reason, there were no issues with it this time (except for the first tian which melted under the 1000 degree hot caramel.) The actuall process of making the sauce went was very smoothly. I think it's because I didn't over think... I think. I just did it without worrying about what could go wrong. If that's the secret to success in life, I've been doing things wrong for 31 years.
Despite the cold weather still clinging onto March with a vice grip, this Tian was a bright sample of the approaching warmth. It's a cheerful break from all the rich, heavy wintery foods and I can't wait to try it with fresh strawberries or peaches. Thanks again, Jennifer.

Clementine Tian
(recipe slightly adapted from Alain Ducasse's Cooking School in Paris France)
* printer friendly recipe *

Equipment required
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the pâte sablée:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
orange juice or clementine juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
5 clementines used to make slices
cold water to cook the clementine slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the clementines. Place the slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch slices for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced clementine slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Clementine Segments:

For this step you will need 12-15 clementines.

Cut the clementines into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

[See YouTube video for information on segmenting oranges.]

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the clementine segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the clementine segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the clementine segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of clementine segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.


  1. Mmm...clementines would be delicious! Well, except for the segmenting, but you already know that! It looks great, and I'm glad you conquered caramel!

  2. I used tiny oranges too (mandarins). I agree that they are much harder to segment than their larger cousins.

  3. I don't like having to be dainty and work with peeling citrus while trying to keep its form either, but this is beautiful. Looks really delicious...

  4. I saw the tians on Barbara Bakes blog also. I've never heard of them and never tasted them, but I'm certainly intrigued and think it would be something I would enjoy. Like you, I love citrus flavored desserts.

    Please stop by my blog to enter my giveaway -- prizes worth about $40 each. You can enter once each day till March 31 to increase your chances of winning.

  5. Ciao ! What a wonderful work of art ! It's great !

  6. Beautiful Tian! I'm so glad you liked the challenge and your results look stunning!

  7. you're a great writer and interesting twist you did this month :) i did orange cranberry. i've never tried clementines b4

  8. Oh my gosh that looks gorgeous and I wish I could eat it right off of the screen! ;)
    Happy weekend!

  9. Great job on the challenge!! It looks really great!

  10. This looks fantastic. I like your choice of clementines.

  11. Love the idea of clementine and your photos are beautiful!
    I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  12. Looks so beauitful and delicious :D

  13. It looks a bit like a French "charlotte" and very refreshing!

  14. Lovely tian! It sounds like a lot of work, but looks worth it.


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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