5 Ingredients or Fewer

Rise and Shine Spiced Pink Grapefruit Brûlée

December  3, 2010
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

We spent many a holiday with the in-laws. After "us kids" started having children, my mother-in-law elected to go by "Nonnie." Before she became a grandmother, and after, she always served the most elegant holiday breakfasts to us all. But what stands out the most in my mind is how she would prepare a broiled grapefruit half for each person upon rising. We were all allowed to get up whenever we wanted on Christmas morning. As we wandered downstairs, our individual grapefruit would be waiting. She deftly cut the sections of the grapefruit perfectly with a grapefruit knife, drizzled maple syrup on top, sprinkled with cinnamon, and then browned them under the broiler. Of course she served these with her endless supply of grapefruit spoons to everyone who wanted one. The care that she took with each one always made us feel so special. And best of all, you got to talk with Nonnie, in the kitchen, usually just one on one, as you savored your warm grapefruit. She exuded a delightfully sunny kind of rise and shine outlook that was rather contagious. It was a wonderful way to start the morning. Once everyone was up, we then all sat around a huge table for a sumptuous feast; sometimes we were a table of 14, but it was talking with Nonnie over that perfect grapefruit half that I remember most fondly. I am adding my sumac to the recipe. I think Nonnie would have liked it this way, too. This recipe is dedicated to her. —Sagegreen

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is delightful and my new go-to afternoon snack—easy, interesting, and healthy. And a slightly warm grapefruit is more satisfying and comforting than a chilled one on a winter day. Don't skimp on the sumac—it's delicious. Or try it and and then play with your own spice combination. Just remember to line your pan with parchment paper or foil; the sugar/juices left a broiled-on mess. – Allie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1 tablespoon or less of maple syrup (or chestnut honey)
  • 1 pinch brown sugar
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried sumac
  • A few dried cranberries or cherries, optional
  1. Cut the grapefruit in half and remove the pits.
  2. Using a grapefruit knife, if you're lucky enough to have one, or another small serrated knife, cut along each section line and all around the perimeter down to the bottom.
  3. Place on a parchment-lined, oven-safe dish. Drizzle the maple syrup on each grapefruit half. Sprinkle the brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sumac on top. If there is a small cavity in the middle, stuff in some dried cranberries.
  4. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, until the top starts to turn golden brown. Serve with grapefruit spoons, if you have them, or regular spoons will work fine, too, especially if you have cut along all lines well. Savor each bite.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • french_trash
  • kerrylow
  • Sagegreen
  • Midge
  • JoanG

28 Reviews

french_trash January 14, 2017
Wow this story was so lovely, and can't wait to try this recipe! Love grapefruit as is but what a great way to mix it up. Thanks for sharing!
Henry May 21, 2016
Love the idea of something reasonably light and easy in the morning this brulee is perfect. Thanks Sagegreen, this makes Monday mornings happier. ( and I love being able to pick my breakfast fresh from the tree out back).
Gyrophare December 4, 2012
Delicious! Just what I needed with some grapefruit sitting on my counter. I didn't have any sumac...so I used cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom with tart cherries in the middle. Delicious, again!
Sagegreen December 4, 2012
Oh, yum! Thanks for letting me know!
kerrylow December 25, 2010
i have a broiled grapefruit every indulgent morning i can get my hands on. Brown sugar and garam masala is my favorite combo. but i'll to try it with maple syrup tomorrow!
Sagegreen December 26, 2010
Thanks, kerrylow. What an interesting combo. Btw your peach melba streusel looks incredible! Happy Holidays.
Sagegreen December 23, 2010
Thanks, Allie not for testing my recipe, but also for trying the sumac! I am so glad you liked it, too. Thank you for your review, as well. Eps are wonderful. Happy Holidays!
Midge December 8, 2010
What a sweet story, Sagegreen. I always look forward to good grapefruit in winter and can't wait to try it this way.
Sagegreen December 8, 2010
Thanks, Midge. You really can't go wrong with this recipe, especially this season! My brother sends me up a case from Florida. And as we brave our New England freeze, broiling these is so perfect against the chill!
JoanG December 7, 2010
Now that I finally have sumac on hand, I will give this a try. I LOVE grapfruit and this sounds great.
Sagegreen December 7, 2010
Thanks, JoanG. Sumac adds a nice texture, too...just balance it out with a level of sweetness right for you. I have been enjoying all your recipes this week!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 7, 2010
This looks wonderful!! I love putting honey on grapefruit and then broiling it, so I know I'd love this. And it's grapefruit season now - so perfect timing! And I love the photo.
Sagegreen December 7, 2010
Thanks, ChezSuzanne. Thought I would try something light and healthy with so many decadent holiday temptations. I think I am going to want your recipe on that greeting card with your signature!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 7, 2010
Wow, I'm honored! Thank you so much for the thought, sagegreen!
Hilarybee December 6, 2010
We always have grapefruit on Christmas morning. My mom would take a sharpie marker and draw our faces on the grapefruit. She would put the grapefruit under the tree, and we would find the one that was our animated look-a-like.
Sagegreen December 6, 2010
I love your story, Hilarybee. I hope you have come pictures.
Sagegreen December 6, 2010
...some pictures (I meant to type).
Hilarybee December 6, 2010
I don't know if I have any, actually. We always had a very eccentric Christmas, the hallmark of which was the annual lobster race. We would get live lobsters for Christmas, and before cooking time, we would literally race the lobsters. The lobster race was the most documented part of our Christmases.
Sagegreen December 7, 2010
What a fun family you have! LOVE your descriptions of all your unique, memorable traditions!
lapadia December 6, 2010
This sounds great, Sagegreen!
Sagegreen December 6, 2010
Thanks, lapadia! This is full of nostalgia; this week's theme jogged my memory.
Lehnhoca December 5, 2010
I have just come across your recipes. Beautiful pictures, sweet stories. Well done! But please tell me, what is sumac? This is a new one for me. Thank you
Sagegreen December 5, 2010
Thank you so much, Lehnhoca, Christine. This year I have been experimenting with my local sumac, staghorn sumac (you can find my sumac tea recipe on this site), but also with the mideastern variety usually from rhus glabra, a bitter/sweet/sour reddish berry just wonderful as a garnish, as well as in sauces. I just uploaded a photo of the kind that I usually buy. World spice sells some very nice sumac. I love the color, the taste, and the texture. My very first recipe that became a finalist used sumac in a lassi drink. I hope you will try some. And I do not own any shares in any sumac company, as much as I use it in my recipes!
cheesypennies December 5, 2010
My mom used to make this, but even simpler, with just dark brown sugar. Almost like a grapefruit brulee. One of my all time favorite things to eat in the morning. Thanks for the memory!
Sagegreen December 5, 2010
You are very welcome. I love your description of the simple brown sugar brulee. Thanks!
Sagegreen December 5, 2010
Cheesypennie, you have inspired me to edit the name of my recipe: I have added your image of the brulee, because that is exactly how it tastes. If you have any objection to my use of brulee, since you suggested it, please let me know and I will remove it!
cheesypennies December 6, 2010
Of course you can use it! Glad you liked the description.
Sagegreen December 6, 2010
Thanks! Just thought I would check.