create a bain marie: a medium glass bowl and a medium saucepan, filled with about 2 inches of water (watch this as you heat the curd, make sure it doesn’t evaporate completely, add more if needed but not so much that the water touches the bowl)
a thermometer is highly recommended (it takes the guesswork out of it)
fine mesh strainer
9-inch tart pan with removable bottom
1 cup fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (about 3 or 4 grapefruit
1 cup granulated sugar
zest from 2 grapefruit
4 whole eggs
4 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
Heat 2 inches or more of water in a medium saucepan to boiling. Turn it down to a simmer.
Add the grapefruit juice, sugar, zest, eggs and egg yolks, and the butter into the heat-proof glass bowl.
Place the bowl over the simmering water, and stir with a wire whisk.
And keep stirring over the heat.
Test the mixture with your thermometer, you’re looking for a few visual cues. First, the butter will melt. Then, you’ll start to question why you even started this. It will try your patience. You’ll start asking if it’s done? Maybe it’s done?
Keep stirring. You’re waiting for the middle of the mixture to get to about 155° and the bubbles will have disappeared and it will begin to feel thicker. If you’re patient enough, you’ll get to 160° and you should start to see the wire whisk leaving slight trails in the thickened mixture. (if you’re totally tired of stirring, and it’s at least 150° you can move on to the next point. (if you don’t want to make a tart, cook the curd on the stove until it reaches 180° and then strain into glass jars or containers for topping toast, biscuits, pancakes, or cookies!)
At this point in the tart-making process, remove the bowl of curd from the heat, and using pot holders or heat-proof oven gloves, hold a fine mesh strainer over the pre-cooked shortcrust pastry shell (still in the tart pan, see recipe above) and pour the hot curd mixture through the strainer and into the tart shell. Be careful not to fill it too full! Discard whatever is in the strainer.
Carefully slide the tart pan back into the hot oven, and let it bake at 350° for about 10 – 15 minutes, doing a ‘jiggle test’ every 5 minutes until it the liquid longer ripples, and just the middle still has a slight jiggle to it.
When it passes the jiggle test, remove it from the oven, and let it cool completely on a wire rack. It will continue to cook for a few more minutes while it’s cooling, and it will become solid once it’s cooled. (over cooked curd will look grainy, and will split. There is a fine line between under cooked and over cooked. The jiggle test is the best way to avoid this. Only the very middle should jiggle slightly when you pull it from the oven)
Once completely cool, pipe, plop, scoop/drop, or pile the swiss meringue to your liking. (recipe below)
You can use a hand-held kitchen torch to toast the meringue peaks if you’d like.
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