Cara Cara Means Yum Yum

Gluten-free tart celebrates the orange

By Emily Chavez
Luis Chavez/Submitted Photos

Delicious seasonal cara cara oranges are my choice for winter to early spring fruit. 

Any orange can be used for this recipe, but the juicy cara cara variety is sweet without the bitterness found in conventional navel oranges. 

Inspired by traditional lemon bars, this tart becomes a dessert centerpiece with a browned butter gluten-free crust. Also, unlike the usual curd filling, which requires more than a dozen eggs, this tart sets with unflavored gelatin. I personally prefer the gelatin set so I can avoid an eggy dessert. A dusting of powdered sugar or candied orange slices is the perfect topper for this tart that truly celebrates the orange. 

Gluten-free cara cara orange tart

Hands-on time: 40 minutes | Ready in 2 hours

Yields: 6 servings


2 1/2 cups cara cara orange juice, fresh squeezed

6 cara cara orange, 

zest of

1 teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

1 to 2 gelatin packets, unflavored 

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, unsalted

3 1/4 cups 1-to-1 gluten-free flour

Optional: Powdered sugar or candied orange twists to finish.


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden colored and smells toasty. 

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup sugar until mostly dissolved. 

In separate bowl, whisk together flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the butter and sugar mix until crumbly. 

Press this mixture into a tart or sheet pan, along the sides and bottom. 

Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees until golden. 

While the crust bakes, make the filling by whisking together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Then mix in the eggs, zest and juice.

Cook this filling mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring until the curd thickens and looks creamy. 

Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in gelatin. 

Pour the filling into the cooked crust and chill until firm, at least 1 1/2 hours. 

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