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.

Fresh.

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.