Broiled grapefruit tart(lets)

By • March 7, 2011 • 44 Comments

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Author Notes: “Can we make grapefruit curd, Mommy? Wouldn’t that be a lovely filling for a tart?”
That was the question 9-year-old Eliza asked when I mentioned that this week’s Food52 challenge was to create the perfect late winter tart.
Yes. Yes, we can. And we did. We were shooting to replicate one of our favorite cold winter morning breakfast treats: grape fruit halves, sprinkled with brown sugar and placed under the broiler. We think this tartlet combination comes pretty close with its warm, bittersweet crackle on the top that gives way to the cool sweet and sour center. The brown sugar bowl it sits in is just a bonus.
You can make this as one big tart with this recipe as it is written, but we chose to run with eight individually sized tarts because “you just wouldn’t find a grapefruit THAT big unless they used science on it, right, Mom?”
Makes six tartlets or on 8-inch tart
cheese1227

Makes eight tartlets or one 10-inch tart

For the candied broiled grape fruit and grapefruit curd

  • 1 small ruby red grape fruit, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 2 Pinches of salt, divided
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup pulp-free ruby red grapefruit juice (this can be from a carton or from 2-3 fruits)
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

For the brown sugar crust

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced into cubes and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  1. Make a simple syrup by combining ½ cup water, ¾ cup sugar and a pinch each of salt and cardamom in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. When all of the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from the heat. Fill a second saucepan half full of water and two pinches of salt and put it over medium high heat and bring it to a boil. You need to blanche each slice of grapefruit in this water for about 3 minutes a piece to take a bit of the bitterness out of the pith. The typically white pith turns transclucent after about 3 minutes and, as far as I can tell, signals that much of the bitterness has been zapped. Gently remove the grapefruit slices from the boiling water and place them into the hot syrup, taking care to make sure all of the slices are submerged in the syrup. Set the pan aside to cool for at least an hour (these can sit in the syrup for quite a while -- even overnight -- and get sweeter the longer they are sitting in there.)
  2. To make the curd, combine the eggs and the egg yolks in a small boil and beat them until they are a solid yellow color. Put eggs, ¼ cup white sugar, grapefruit juice, corn starch and a pinch of salt into a medium saucepan and whisk the ingredients together well.Put the pan over medium low heat and stir it until it thickens and looks like, well, curd. The temp should be about 170 degrees in order for it not to taste like raw eggs. When it hits that point, whisk in the three tablespoons of butter, one at a time. Push the curd through a fine mesh strainer to get the white stringy bits out. If you are in a hurry cool the curd in a bowl over an ice bath. Store the curd in the fridge while you make the crust. It thickens considerably as it sits in there.
  3. To make the crust combine flour, 1 cup unsalted butter cubes, brown sugar, vanilla and cardamom (if desired) in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms a dough ball on the top of the blade.
  4. Butter the inside of the tartlet pans (life is much easier if you’ve got the kind with the removable bottoms!). Divide the dough among the eight pans (or just plop it in the middle of the big one if you are going that route) and press the dough to fit the pan, taking care to have it be pushed well into the ridge sides so that you can press around the edge and have a nice, squared off top edge. You only need a thin crust on the bottom. Put the pans in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the tartlets for 12-14 minutes until they are nicely browned (the big tart might take upwards of 20 minutes). No worries about the middles rising up at around 3-4 minutes as they fall back into place around the 10-minute mark. Remove from the oven and set them on racks to cool completely.
  5. To caramelize your candied grape fruit slices (which I do right before I assemble them so they are still a bit warm and crackly), pull them out of the syrup and spread them out on a rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle them all liberally with white sugar on both sides. If you have a torch and like the power that gives you, singe the top face of each grape fruit slice like you would a crème brule. No torch? Just put them under your broiler to the same effect. But just a note of caution for the latent pyros that lurk in all of us, just singe the pulp of the grape fruit and not the rind. Singing the rind makes it bitter and you just spent a chunk of your life trying to make these things less bitter. Use a sharp knife to cut each one into bite-sized segments. If you are serving a crowd who is generally afraid of a bit of bitterness, you can cur the segments between the membranes, leaving the membranes on the cutting board. But that is very fiddly, so you really have to love them to to that.
  6. To assemble these tarts, take a shell, fill it with curd (not too much as the weight of the grape fruit will cause a little spread), arrange the candied grapefruit on top. These do best if you leave them in the fridge to set up before serving.
Jump to Comments (44)

Tags: can be made ahead, Easy

Comments (44) Questions (0)

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over 3 years ago Ms. T

I'm drooling just looking at this. And BTW, I want to be just like Eliza when I grow up ;)

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I hope you get a chance to try it. As for growing up, no need!

Birthday_2012

over 3 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

beautiful. we like broiled grapefruit for saturday breakfast, too.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks! We've got it times for weekday delivery. Kettle on. Broiler on. Cut fruit and sprinkle sugar. Boiling water over loose tea leaves in pot. Fruit under broiler. Pour tea. Pull out fruit. Sit. Sip. Eat.

Stringio

over 3 years ago testkitchenette

Other words besides yum fail me.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

That is a good word!

Damarispalmer2

over 3 years ago Kitchen Corners

This sounds amazing.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks. If you get a chance to try it. I'd love some feedback.

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over 3 years ago SaltHands

It sounds like you and I are thinking on the same wavelength! It should go without saying that I think this sounds wonderful. I am such a fan of using grapefruit as an alternative to the usual lemon or orange in desserts. And broiled grapefruit really is the best on icy winter mornings.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Have you checked out MrsLarkin's lovely one with sweetened condenced milk? Looks like we are all trying tame that bitterness that is grape fruit!

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over 3 years ago Chef David

Tart, sweet, creamy, with a brown-sugar crust and a whiff of cardamom. This is a well-thought-out 3-act play going on here!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks Chef David!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

This is really beautiful. I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks too (brown sugar crust with grapefruit curd - YUM!).

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thank you for the comments! If you get a chance to try it, I'd love your input.

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

This sounds amazing! Bravo!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thank your for the accolades! High compliment indeed from you. I am still getting compliments from neighbors (and fellow Food52ers) on the chili chocolate caramels of yours!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oooooooh! And what a fabulous little muse you have!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

She is indeed a wonderous muse. She's in a very cute stage, too.

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

LOVE this!!! I can't wait to try these!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

If you do get to try it, I'd love to know what you'd tweak.

Dsc_0048b

over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

Beautiful! What creativity and determination!!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks Wendy! My first try at the curd was total pea soup!

Dsc_0048b

over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

It's anything but, now!

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

How beautiful! I'm going to try this!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Oh if you get a chance to critique it before the deadline, I's LOVE your input.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love the broiled grapefruit on top! Nicely done.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I love the comment "Nicely done". Can you say it with a British accent?

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Sorry, no British accent, despite the British spelling of my food52 name!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I yes, the extra "u". We lived there for a bit and I still see that "u" showing up in mu kids' writting every now and again.

Dsc_0675-x2a

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Love your combinations!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks Sagegreen!

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over 3 years ago Rivka

Brilliant!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks Rivka. Kind of reminds me of someone's rhubarb curd shortbreads, no!?

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over 3 years ago Rivka

yes indeed! was thinking the same thing. I made an apricot curd last year that was just out of control. Planning to do the same again with the last of the frozen apricots from last summer. Will have to try this too!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

On my Amazon wishlist, I have a jar of passion fruit puree. No one believes that I would want that over a book. But Can you imagine passion fruit curd?

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

They're gorgeous! Well done, Eliza and mom!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks MrsLarkin. Let grape fruit reign!

Summer_2010_1048

over 3 years ago Midge

Love this! What a brilliant idea.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks midge!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Thanks! You don't happen to live in Central PA, do you? I have five more sitting on my counter waiting for taste testers!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh man do I wish plane tickets were cheaper!!!

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over 3 years ago Auntie M & M

Looks and sounds delicious. We have several mutual friends and we live in your neighborhood. I am available for taste testing any time.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

Andrea - I love having local testers! Give me a call.

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over 3 years ago Homemadecornbread

This sounds so delicious! I wish I had something more profound to say than "wow." Wow!