Make Ahead

Grapefruit Tart

March  6, 2011
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Grapefruit is pretty much the king of winter fruit in this neck of the woods, so I wanted to play around and see if it might work in a custard tart—and it does! Inspired by and adapted from the Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie recipe, the one on the back of the bottle—my favorite. - mrslarkin —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Mrslarkin is well known for her scones on Food52 and beyond.
WHAT: A classic tart crust with a creamy, bittersweet grapefruit filling.
HOW: Combine grapefruit juice and zest with sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks, pour this custard into a pre-baked tart crust, and bake until set. Chill, then dollop with whipped cream and finish with a tiny, sugar-sprinkled grapefruit wedge.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This delicate, easy-to-make tart is packed with slightly-bitter grapefruit flavor that's mellowed by creamy condensed milk and egg yolks. Topping it off with whipped cream and fresh grapefruit intensifies the flavors of the tart while adding a little texture. (We can't wait to make it again with the suggested addition of Campari.) —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the dough (makes enough for 4 tarts, or see step 6 for a single crust)
  • 630 grams all-purpose unbleached flour (about 5 cups)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 11 ounces cold unsalted butter (2 3/4 sticks), cubed
  • 6 ounces cold vegetable shortening (12 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups ice water
  • For the tart
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits, washed/scrubbed
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit zest, grated with a microplane grater
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, from 1 of the 2 grapefruits, with pulp, seeds removed
  • 1 round of tart dough, or 1 single-crust store-bought dough
  • 1 round slice of grapefruit, with peel, about 1/4-inch thick, cut into 8 triangular segments
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Whipped cream (I like it unsweetened, but you can sweeten it if desired)
  1. For the dough (makes enough for 4 tarts, or see step 6 for a single crust)
  2. Place flour and salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine.
  3. Add butter cubes to flour and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine.
  4. Add chunks of shortening to flour mixture. Pulse to combine, while simultaneously pouring ice water through the feed tube. Mix just until incorporated and dough just starts forming a ball. You might not need all the ice water.
  5. Flour a work area and turn the dough out. Gather into a ball. Cut into 4 equal parts. Weigh them out to get even pieces, if you have a kitchen scale.
  6. Gently form each piece into a flat round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days, or frozen for one month. Store in zipper freezer bags.
  7. This is my go-to pie/tart/quiche crust. I know making 4 crusts seems a bit daunting, but once you have it made, it keeps great in the freezer! Here are the measurements for one crust, in case you want one and only one (hope I did the math right): 158 g flour (about 1 1/4 cup flour), 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 3/4 ounces cold butter (5 1/2 tablespoons), 1 1/2 ounces cold vegetable shortening (3 tablespoons), 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
  1. For the tart
  2. Place one round of dough, or your store bought dough, between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Place tart pan over dough to check for size. You want some overhang, so make it about an 11-inch circle, which is roughly the width of the plastic wrap.
  3. Peel the top plastic wrap off of the dough. Loosely roll the dough up onto your well-floured rolling pin, as if you were wrapping the rolling pin with the dough, while pulling off the bottom plastic. Slowly unroll crust over an 8-inch or 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the sides/corners of the pan. Nudge the excess dough down a bit to slightly fatten (as in make chubby) the edges. Trim excess dough by rolling the pin against the dough and the top edge of the pan, reserving scraps to patch any holes or thin spots. Then gently press against the sides to slightly flatten (as in make skinny) and make the sides of the tart dough rise up a tiny bit over the top of the tart pan. When baking, the tart will shrink, so it's good to have a teeny bit of extra height here, about 1/8 inch.
  4. Preheat oven to 400° F. While oven is preheating, chill the tart shell in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  5. To blind bake the crust, place tart on a sheet pan. Prick bottom of tart all over with the tines of a fork. Place a sheet of parchment over the crust and fill with uncooked rice, beans, or pie weights. Make sure to bank the sides with rice. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove tart pan and carefully remove parchment and rice. Place tart pan (still on the sheet pan) back in the oven and bake for another 5 or so minutes until just beginning to brown.
  7. While tart shell is baking, prepare the filling.
  8. In a bowl, combine condensed milk, egg yolks, zest, and grapefruit juice. Stir until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes or so.
  9. When the tart shell is done, remove to a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F.
  10. Pour custard into tart shell and bake for 20 minutes, or until set in the middle.
  11. Remove to a cooling rack for 15 minutes and refrigerate for a few hours to serve cold (or leave out to serve at room temperature).
  12. To serve, unmold the tart and serve slices of the tart with whipped cream and a segment of grapefruit dredged in turbinado sugar for a yummy sweet, sour, and crunchy bite.
  13. I found adding 1 tablespoon of Campari to the filling mixture lends a soft peachy blush—and a little more bitterness. If you're a bitters fan, you might enjoy this. Reduce the zest to 1 tablespoon if using the Campari.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Risottogirl
  • Adrienne
  • ChefJune
  • QueenSashy
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin

49 Reviews

Risottogirl November 16, 2017
It's almost time for local grapefruit...will make this again...this time with homemade condensed milk and Campari. And I'll garnish with candied rind!
beejay45 July 12, 2017
Great to see so many other grapefruit lovers! It's my favorite citrus. I'm wondering if you reduced your juice (in the sense of heating it to decrease its volume so you wouldn't lose flavor) and made up the diff with Campari would that make it pinker without overloading the liquid element??? Going to give this a try. Thanks mrslarkin for another great recipe.
Adrienne July 12, 2017
Oh I'd be curious to know the results. I've seen tarts where a small amount of Campari is added for flavor, but it never seems to be more than tablespoon.
beejay45 July 12, 2017
I'm a Campari lover, so maybe I need to develop a Campari tart. ;) Seriously, its flavor combined with grapefruit really does sound wonderful.
Adrienne February 14, 2016
A delicious and delightfully simple dessert. It was a fantastic unexpected addition to my Valentine's Day dinner. Chamomile ice cream proved to be an excellent accompaniment!
mrslarkin February 14, 2016
Sounds wonderful, Adrienne!
ChefJune February 13, 2016
cannot believe I'm just seeing this today! Right up my alley. If only I had some condensed milk I would make it this weekend. You might even make me go out in the 20-degree temp to get some!
mrslarkin February 13, 2016
It's an oldie but a goodie, ChefJune. Hope you get to try it soon!
QueenSashy February 12, 2016
I did not expect less from mrslarkin. This is such a treat, I love love love the scent of grapefruits. This is a keeper. Congratulations!
mrslarkin February 12, 2016
Thanks so much QueenSashy! ?
LeBec F. January 30, 2016
what a luscious and refreshing winner! and the presentation photos are just terrific!
p.s. i've been reading a fascinating food history called Citrus and I've just learned that a significantly improved red/pink grapefruit was developed by a TX horticulturalist mid-20th c. and then improved greatly in 1984, with Rio Reds. They harvest them from Sept/Oct to April/May!
mrslarkin January 30, 2016
Thanks LBF! I will look for that variety. Haven't seen them yet. I love food history books.
em-i-lis January 13, 2012
this looks wonderful. yum!!
mrslarkin January 13, 2012
thank you em-i-lis!
em-i-lis January 14, 2012
Have mercy, mrslarkin. This is magnificent. I just made it and am sitting here savoring every bite. My hubby is out, kids with their grandparents, and truly, I couldn't be happier. This is right up my alley with the sour-sweet-bitter profile. I just raved about it and posted a pic on my blog. Many thanks!!
mrslarkin January 14, 2012
Yay! I'm so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for letting me know!
zest I. March 21, 2011
I served this tart at a dinner party I hosted this weekend. It was perfect! I was tempted to use store bought crust (because I had so many other items to prepare) but just couldn't bring myself to do it. The crust was super easy and came out beautifully. All of my guests could not get over how delicious it was. I served it with barely sweetened whipped cream and a garnish of lime zest. This is definitely my new go-to dessert - I can't wait to experiment with other variations!
mrslarkin March 21, 2011
That is really great to hear, zest! Thank you so much for letting me know. Makes my day. I would love to try it with Meyer lemon.
EmilyC March 11, 2011
Looks delicious...simple yet elegant.
mrslarkin March 12, 2011
Thanks very much EmilyC!
TiggyBee March 8, 2011
Truly scrumptious... Love this!
mrslarkin March 8, 2011
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one of my favorite movies. Thanks TiggyBee!
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
this looks so good. I like that you weighed out your ingredients. I have been doing that more, but not near enough, in my recipes. So much more precise. The custard looks like it sets really well and it doesn't look sickeningly sweet either, my kind of tart.
mrslarkin March 8, 2011
Thanks, thirschfeld. I made another one today in the smaller tart pan, with a little Campari for color (still not very pink I'm afraid) and I left the pulp in the juice this time. It looks real pretty. It's sweet but not too much. I used the plain dough for that reason - didn't want to go overboard on the sweetness.
Arathi March 8, 2011
This sounds fantastic. It is definitely in my near future!
mrslarkin March 8, 2011
Thanks so much, Arathi! Let me know if you do try it.
gingerroot March 8, 2011
What a beauty of a tart! Grapefruit is one of my favorites...this sounds amazing.
mrslarkin March 8, 2011
Thank you gingeroot!! It's so easy, and so delicious! I heart grapefruit too!
TasteFood March 7, 2011
I agree with kmartinelli - what a brilliant use of grapefruit!
mrslarkin March 7, 2011
Thank you TasteFood!
kmartinelli March 7, 2011
Oh wow! I love grapefruit, I love key lime pie, and I can't believe it never occurred to me to put the two together. I cannot wait to try this! We have some incredible Jaffa red grapefruits right now.
mrslarkin March 7, 2011
Those Jaffa reds sound great, km! Let me know if you try it!
Lizthechef March 7, 2011
Nice photo and a winner of a tart!!
mrslarkin March 7, 2011
Thank you so much, Liz!
Blissful B. March 7, 2011
Yummmm. I love grapefruit & know what a challenge it is to transfer that flavor to a confection. I love hearing about everyone's experiments & am so glad yours turned out well! Gorgeous photo, too.
mrslarkin March 7, 2011
Thanks, BB! I love that bitter/sweet/sour taste!
Midge March 7, 2011
Yum! The condensed milk is a stroke of genius. My own grapefruit tart attempt was a total flop.
mrslarkin March 7, 2011
Thanks, Midge. I'm curious what went wrong with yours? Share, please!
Midge March 7, 2011
I like bitter, but it was bitter overload.
hardlikearmour March 6, 2011
This looks lovely, mrslarkin! (as I expected) Great idea.
mrslarkin March 6, 2011
Thank you hla!!
cheese1227 March 6, 2011
OK. This is lovely. But you are NOT going to believe what Eliza and I have been working on all day!!! Something very similiar, I am afraid.
mrslarkin March 6, 2011
Thanks! I wish mine were pink-er. Might try the next batch with some Campari. I want to see yours!! Submit!
cheese1227 March 6, 2011
I under stand the need for pink. Here's a hint. DON'T try pom juice. Turns brown with heat. Got something the color of pea soup!