2Blood Oranges– zest and juice (about ½ Cup of juice)
1Bourbon Vanilla Bean– split and seeded
1 ½SticksUnsalted Butter– softened (12 TBS)
2 ½TBSGranulated Sugar
2 ½TBSConfectioner’s Sugar– plus more for dusting
1 1/3CupAll Purpose Flour
Make the Blood Orange Curd: Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a 1 ½ -2 quart saucepan until smooth. Add in the orange zest and juice. Stir. Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 12-15 minutes (should be the consistency of thin pudding). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean seeds. Add in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring between each addition, until smooth*. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours- up to overnight.
Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8’’ baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the Shortbread Crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl with a hand held mixer) beat together the butter, and both sugars on medium-high speed until completely combined and it resembles frosting. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the flour and salt. Beat on low speed until all the flour is just incorporated and the mixtures comes together. Transfer the dough to prepared baking pan and press into bottom (spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray to prevent dough from sticking).
Bake until lightly golden and crust is set, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let crust cool slightly, for about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Pour orange curd over crust and continue to bake until edges are set center is still jiggly, about 18-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator to chill until completely firm.
To serve, cut into squares and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
*I added 3 drops of pink food coloring to slightly enhance color. You can add more or none depending on preference. *You can strain the orange curd through a fine mesh strainer for a smoother consistency. I did not do this. *heavily adapted from Saveur’s Lemon Bars