Grapefruit Curd Tartelettes, Gluten Free

by Jenn on April 21, 2011

in Desserts,GF Substitutions,Gluten Free

grapefruit curd tartelettes

Grapefruits are seriously underrated.

I’ll admit, I too am guilty of not giving them a 2nd glance, because I had always associated them with something tart and bitter where the only possible way to make it the remotest bit palatable was to douse the entire fruit in spoonfuls of sugar. But my husband loves all things grapefruit, and he has converted me.  Sweet grapefruits do in fact exist – and while they may never be as sweet as say, fresh ripe strawberries, they definitely don’t have to be as tart as lemons.  I find the acidity that complements a really ripe grapefruit to balance the sweet quite well, and have really come to enjoy them.

So now, when I think of grapefruits, I think bright. Vibrant. Springtime.


Like tulips :)

La Fête de la Tulipe La Fête de la Tulipe

Haha you knew I couldn’t help but share more tulip photos!

I thought the perfect way to showcase grapefruit’s “softer side” would be to make a curd.  Lemon curd has a characteristic zing, a tang that I love about it, but this grapefruit curd was much more subtle.  In fact it was so subtle that I needed to find ways to add more grapefruit into it – so I decided to double the volume and let the liquid reduce by half to help concentrate the flavor before incorporating with the rest of the ingredients.

Soft can be pretty too.

La Fête de la Tulipe La Fête de la Tulipe

If one is cooking a liquid, reduction is such an easy and useful technique to intensify the ingredients of a dish.  All that reducing means is to just let the liquid you are cooking evaporate off until the volume reduces to a set amount.  During this evaporation process, the significant loss is water by way of steam.  But the flavor of whatever you are cooking stays in the pot, so in effect it becomes more and more concentrated as more and more water is evaporated away.  It’s good to do this in a large shallow dish, because that gives more surface area for the water to escape, saving you time while you are waiting.  So when a recipe says to let something reduce, all they mean is to let a liquid simmer or boil for a bit until there’s a certain amount left in your pan so that it’s intense and flavorful.  I used it here for grapefruit juice to concentrate the grapefruit flavor and let it stand out more, but this technique also works really well for stocks and broths and bases for several sauces.

Speaking of being underrated, grapefruits aren’t alone here – so are gluten free tartes.  Everyone always frets about pie crusts, but not so many consider pâte sucrée, the tarte shell, which I first learned about when reading my copy of Ladurée – Sucré (en français, I’ve had this since before Kerrin so beautifully translated it into English).  A tarte shell is made up of flour, butter, sugar and egg.  It doesn’t need gluten to hold itself together while it’s stretched out thin, in fact the tarte shell can even be patted into place if need be, and repaired a gazillion times without fuss.  Not only that, but the egg helps “glue” the crust together, and if you use a fluted pan with a removable bottom, should even be able to stand on its own without worry.  Personally, I think they are far easier and less stressful than traditional pie crusts.

(can I insert more pretty tulip pics? oh how I love these flowers in the Springtime!)

La Fête de la Tulipe

La Fête de la Tulipe La Fête de la Tulipe

Ok, I’ll suppose I should let you get on to see the recipe – I love this because it’s cool and refreshing on a warm Spring day, and while it is rich, it doesn’t feel overly heavy – the bright punch of grapefruit really adds a cheeriness to this tarte, and well, who am I to turn down a dessert that gets to incorporate my favorite color pink? 😉

I’m also submitting this post to this month’s Monthly Mingle, started by the lovely Meeta from WFLH and hosted this month by Jeanne of Cook Sister, whose theme is topless tarts.


Grapefruit Curd

Pâte sucrée adapted from Ladurée – Sucré
Grapefruit curd and overall dish idea adapted from Godiva
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours not counting chilling time

For the pâte sucrée:

  • 65 g hazelnut meal
  • 70g powdered sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 120g butter, cut into pieces and chilled in freezer for 15 minutes
  • 1 egg, fridge temp
  • 60g potato starch
  • 60g chestnut flour
  • 40g white rice flour
  • melted white chocolate

For the grapefruit curd:

  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one grapefruit (I used the one I had juiced)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 whole grapefruit

First, make the tarte shells:
1. In a large bowl, mix together hazelnut meal, powdered sugar, and salt.  Use a pastry cutter or a fork to then cut in the butter.   Then add the egg to form a very wet sticky “dough”.
2. Mix together the gluten free flours in a bowl, and then gradually add to the dough, mixing only enough for all of the dough and the flour to be incorporated.  Then take the dough with your hands and form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a couple hours.  You want the dough to be really cold to work with it.
3. Take the dough of the fridge, and separate the dough into 4 parts.  Put the other three back into the fridge, you only want to work with one at a time.  Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it is thin – you want it a little less than 1/4″.  To transfer to your tarte dish, peel off the top layer, take it in your hands, and gently flip it onto your dish.  Then carefully peel off the other layer of plastic wrap, and press into your dish.  Trim any lose ends, and prick the bottom with a fork.  Do the same with the other 3.
4. To bake, preheat oven to 180º C, cover it with foil that has been greased and weigh down your tarte shell (beans, pie weights, etc.). If you don’t, the shell will puff up and the sides will fall down.  Baking time will depend on the thickness of your dough – mine took around 20 minutes.  Extra dough can be rolled out and baked on parchment paper like cookies.  It’s rather tasty this way.
5. When done, you will want to let the shells cool completely before trying to add any curd to them. Then pour in melted white chocolate into the bottom to create a thin evenly spread layer, and chill the shells until the chocolate is fully hardened.
Second, prepare the grapefruit curd:
6. Heat grapefruit juice in a medium pan on the stove and bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat down to a simmer and let the volume reduce by half.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
7. In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar, then whisk in the reduced grapefruit juice, zest, butter, and pinch of salt.  Pour into medium pot and heat on medium low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the entire curd thickens and passes the “coats back of spoon” test.
8. Chill for a couple hours before using to fill tartelette shells, or just forget the shells and chilling time and eat straight out of the pot.  Your choice.
9. Peel and segment the grapefruit to garnish the curd tartelettes before serving.
10. Enjoy!



dw April 21, 2011 at 1:38 am

YES! YES! YES! I love this. I am making this. This weekend.

I have a beautiful fluted ceramic dish I’ve never used and I love grapefruit and I can’t eat gluten or anything overly sweet or fructose-rich fruit and my husband is allergic to regular chocolate. You can imagine how many dessert option that leaves us with, eh?

You are a genius!

Also, I have never found chestnut flour. Is there something I can substitute for that? I also might use almond meal instead of hazelnut, as I don’t think I’ll be able to easily find that, either.

Oh YAY, I’m so excited!

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 1:40 am

Oh thanks, I hope you enjoy!
Here’s another variation that I’ve used as well for the tarte shells – really I don’t think it matters what kind of flour you use, I just happen to like the flavor of chestnut – I bet you could use a plain old all purpose GF flour blend and be fine :)

Shawnda April 21, 2011 at 2:50 am

Beautiful! And I’m impressed, I’ve never gotten grapefruit curd to thicken without adding a Tbsp or two of lemon juice.

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 2:54 am

Thanks!! Def. try Godiva’s recipe – it’s pretty heavy on the butter compared to my normal lemon curd method, and uses only egg yolks which I think also helps with the thickening. It definitely was softer than my usual lemon curd, but it thickened plenty enough. Godiva’s original recipe also folds it into whipped cream – I haven’t tried that yet but think I will next time, it may help lighten it up a bit too.

Nelly Rodriguez April 21, 2011 at 3:43 am

Love it! I’ve made Lime bars and yes, lemons need to share the spotlight!

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

Oooh lime bars sound like a great idea as well!

Lana April 21, 2011 at 7:22 am

Anything that hazelnuts in it is a winner in my world! I know that it will taste wonderful!
We ate grapefruits for breakfast and I learned to like their bitter-tart taste. Now I serve it to my girls for breakfast, along eggs and bacon:)
I love the idea of using it in a curd (as nowadays I use grapefruit only in juice form, to add to cocktails:)
Great post, Jenn!

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

Yeah I’m loving using hazelnut meal for nearly everything here, it’s one of my favorite flavors too – thanks Lana!

Rosa April 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

I love those beautiful tulips pictures! That is such a wonderful flower.

Your tartlets look divine! That curd is particularly droolworthy. Grapefruits are delicious and so refreshing.



Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

Thanks so much Rosa!

Cherine April 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

A gorgeous tart!

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

Thanks Cherine!

Maris (In Good Taste) April 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

You have captured the beauty of the tulip. The tart looks so delicious!

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 11:07 am

Thanks so much!

Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf April 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

oooh you and i would just go crazy together at the markets here – tulips galore ! look:

your photos above are gorgeous and i bet that tart was divine. i’m with you – all about simply patting crusts in when making tarts/pies. easy, fast and so good.

thanks for the mention above too, jenn ! =)

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

Aww thanks Kerrin! And yes, I think we would have a blast going to the markets together – I am loving all the gorgeous flowers that are out now!

Jessica April 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm

OMG, I love grapefruit and I love the idea of making tartelettes with it! What a wonderful pairing…and of course beautiful photos :)

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Thanks so much Jessica!

Tressa @ Hecka-Good Recipes April 21, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Jenn, these look so amazing!!! I can’t wait to try them. I agree that grapefruit aren’t given enough credit. I made a grapefruit cake with grapefruit buttercream frosting a couple of weeks ago and it was so delicious. Very different, but so fun!

BTW, your photography makes me want to weep….in a good way! You are amazing. :)

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm

oh thanks!! I’d love to see your grapefruit cake, that sounds awesome!

Deanna April 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I’ve had a little grapefruit obsession going on the last couple of weeks. I peel ’em and eat ’em like oranges. Oh yes I do. Sooooo good.

Your tartlets are gorgeous. I may just need to de-grain and de-dairy these.

Jenn April 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Thanks! I think you could totally de-grain and de-dairy these – this shell should be pretty forgiving – maybe some coconut flour instead? I see coconut and grapefruit working really well together :)

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle April 22, 2011 at 12:14 am

I bought some grapefruit last weekend and was delightfully surprised. Beautiful color, just tart enough and so juicy. Why don’t we think of using them where we put other citrus more often? It’s not like lemons or limes are naturally sweet!

I love them in salads too but this curd look beautiful Jenn.

Jenn April 22, 2011 at 6:50 am

Thanks Barbara – hmm why is it that we always forget about grapefruit? I think it would nicely replace orange is several items as well…

Jessica April 22, 2011 at 8:42 am

I am really interested in trying this one Jenn! I have always loved the idea of Grapefruit…but it is just so…pungent and strong. I love the idea of seeing it’s softer side in this tart!

Jenn April 22, 2011 at 9:09 am

Thanks! Yeah I think this works really well for grapefruit, especially if you cannot find very sweet ones.

Laura Flowers April 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Such a lovely recipe! Now I want grapefruit.

Jenn April 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm


Jamie April 24, 2011 at 7:41 am

I am a Florida girl who grew up on the Indian River eating grapefruits, drinking grapefruit juice and I love them. But I must admit I have never used them in baking before. This curd and these tartlets might just convert me! And yum chestnut flour in your crust? Fabulous!

Jenn April 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Thanks Jamie – until I made this I hadn’t really used grapefruit in desserts either, but now I have definitely “converted” too – I really enjoyed this :)

Maria @ Scandifoodie April 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm

The tulips look so beautiful! And I can’t wait to try these tartelettes, they sound so delicious!

Jenn April 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Thanks !

EA-The Spicy RD April 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

LOVE your tulip photos! I completely agree that grapefruit is underrated. I’m not much of a pie or tart maker, but I think your recipe has inspired me it give it a try!

Jenn April 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Thanks so much! I’m not usually a tarte or pie maker either, mainly because I usually see making crust to be a pain. But this tarte shell is rather easy, and even if you don’t want to make it you can just eat the filling and I won’t judge :)

InTolerantChef April 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I love the tartness of grapefruit too, they are a refreshing change form orange or lemons.

Jenn April 27, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Thanks! Yes very refreshing from orange or lemons :)

Sally - My Custard Pie May 5, 2011 at 6:26 am

Good to be reminded of how lovely grapefruit is and I would never have thought of using them in a tart. Adore the tulip pics – I just came back from Istanbul which had huge beds of them everywhere.

Jenn May 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Thanks – oh I bet all those tulips were lovely!!

Robin May 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm

The lovely color and creamy of this tart is so inviting. Perfect for spring time and tulips! This is a fabulous entry in the Monthly Mingle for April. So glad I found you!

Jenn May 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks!!! This month had so many great entries, I loved going through all the fabulous tarts!!

Sue Averay July 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

Mid-winter in South Australia and the grapefruit tree is laden with fruit. The curd is glorious and, served with pears poached in red wine, was a highlight at my dinner party this weekend. Thanks and keep the great ideas coming!

Heather January 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Can’t eat nuts, can I use more of the other flours for the crust?

Jenn January 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Sure, use whatever crust recipe will work for you. I haven’t tried this specific recipe without a nut meal, but you are free to experiment!

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