Just a little bit of everything delicious all in one! With the tart-but-sweet zing of fresh ruby red grapefruit juice and zest, the cookie-like crust of a shortcrust pastry, topped with a delicious dollop of swiss meringue and toasted to your liking, this tasty treat will make you fall in love with grapefruit tarts.
Created for GoodDay Sacramento ‘Bake of the Month’ with a generous donation of freshly picked grapefruit from Tina Machua’s tree, this bake is near and dear to my heart. I love baking with grapefruit. It’s always a refreshing twist on citrus baked items, and is a nice change from lemon curd or lemon tarts. I hope you try this and not only find a little bit of joy in the kitchen, but also a new found love of this under-appreciated citrus: grapefruit!
Grapefruit Tart with Shortcrust Pastry and Swiss Meringue
A twist on a classic citrus tart, grapefruit brings a refreshing tart but sweet curd, a cookie-like crust, and is topped with billowy Swiss meringue. I have to give Claire Saffitz credit for the shortcrust pastry technique mentioned, this has become my go-to shortcrust pasty and doesn’t require a rolling pin which I love. If you prefer a different crust, be sure to use something that is like shortbread or cookie-like texture and you won’t be disappointed! For the Shortcrust Pasty, you’ll need:
1 medium, and 1 large bowl
For the Grapefruit Tart, you’ll need:
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
For the Swiss Meringue, you’ll need:
hand whisk for stirring
Stand mixer with glass bowl
wire whisk attachment for stand mixer
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a large or medium bowl glass bowl (that sits on the top of the medium saucepan safely without touching the water) and a hand mixer
3 cups plus 2.5 tbsp (404g) all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
7/8 cup or 14 tablespoons (198g) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (134g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
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
4 egg whites (120 g)
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking
powder. Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed, pausing occasionally to scrape down the
sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs and beat until incorporated.
Make the dough
Add all of the dry ingredients into the butter/egg/sugar mixture, and mix with the hand mixer just until you have a smooth, stiff, evenly mixed dough.
Scrape the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap (I usually put 2 sheets of plastic overlapping side by side so I have enough and it’s stronger than just one flimsy sheet) and using the plastic wrap to help form the dough, press it into a ¾-inch-thick rectangle.
Wrap it completely and tightly, then refrigerate until the dough is very firm, at least 2 hours. (Freeze for use later, or use for your tart recipe within a day.)
Blind Baking your Pastry for the Tart:
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F
Remove the chilled dough, and set on the counter for about 10 minutes.
Taking small bits of the dough, squish and place randomly over the base of the 9inch tart pan.
Keep breaking off bits and squishing them slightly to be about 1/4 inch thick.
Gently squish with your finger tips, or using a pastry tamper or flat bottomed measing cup or small glass, carefully press the cold dough until it is evenly dispersed on the bottom of the tart pan, making sure the dough is somewhat evenly distributed. Don’t push or move it too much. Add more dough rather than trying to push the dough to fit. The more you push, the more tough it will be.
Do the same with the sides of the tart pan, squishing bits until the edge is completely covered with about 1/4 inch dough. Do not try and push it around too much to fit.
Once the tart pan is covered completely, use the flat edge of a measuring cup or small glass to create a sharp corner where the base and the edge meets.
Leaving the edge just slightly over the pan, do not trim the rough edges. (yet)
Use a fork or a docking tool to prick the bottom.
Return the tart pan to the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
While it’s freezing, heat at least 2 inches or more of water in a medium saucepan to boiling (shouldn’t touch the bowl). Turn it down to a simmer. This will be needed for the Grapefruit Curd.
After the uncooked dough has been in the freezer for about 10 minutes, remove from the freezer, and line the cold dough with parchment paper. Use enough paper to have a good amount of overhang (for grabbing later)
Fill the parchment paper on your tart with pie weights, dried beans/legumes, or rice (or a combination of all, as seen in my video)
Place this prepared tart pan on a baking sheet and place in your pre-heated oven to blind bake the shortcrust pastry.
Bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from the partially baked crust from the oven, and carefully remove the parchment and pie weights.
Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the base is slightly golden, a little bit puffy, and dull looking (not shiny).
While it’s blind baking, quickly get your ingredients to start the Grapefruit Curd.
Add the grapefruit juice, sugar, zest, eggs and egg yolks, and butter into the heat-proof glass bowl.
Place the bowl over the simmering water, and stir with a wire whisk. Make sure there’s enough water to create steam but that the water doesn’t touch the bowl. (you’re creating a bain marie and heating the mixture with steam)
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?
At some point during your stirring, the blind-baked pie shell will be done. You’ll want to remove, and set it aside while you continue heating the curd.
You’re waiting for the middle of the curd 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 set it on a heatproof pad while you trim the edges of the blind-baked pie shell with a sharp knife, cutting flat against the top edge of the pan, and trimming gently until the shell is even with the pan.
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) 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 it’s cooled, start your Swiss Meringue Topping.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and pinch of salt, and stir with the hand whish until just blended.
Set the bowl over on the saucepan filled with simmering water, be sure to fill it back up to at least 2inches and it’s simmering again.
While whisking, heat the egg mixture for about 10 minutes, testing the mixture by rubbing your thumb and finger together to test for graininess until the sugar is completely dissolved (if using a thermometer, heat the egg mixture to between 120° and 160°).
Once the sugar is completely dissolved by feel (or temperature is 120° to 160°), the egg mixture and looks a more opaque, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla.
Immediately place it on the stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment (must be the whisk) turn it on high and let it whip.
It will start turning into an opaque and starkly white fluff, test it by stopping the mixer and pull the whisk out. If the meringue is soft or floppy, keep whisking. Keep checking each minute until when you pull out the whisk the peak is firm enough to hold its shape without wilting or falling over.
Use immediately for topping a tart or pie, and can be baked or torched for a toasty effect.
Once your tart is completely cool and your swiss meringue is holding stiff peaks, pipe, plop, scoop/drop, or pile the swiss meringue to your liking.
You can use a hand-held kitchen torch to toast the meringue peaks if you’d like.
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