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.
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.
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!)
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?
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.