I was making my usual rounds in the food blogging world when I popped in over at the Smitten Kitchen. She was making whole lemon tarts and I was, in a word, smitten. I’ve always had a real thing for lemon bars, and for tarts of any kind, and combining the two? Well, shut my mouth.
I rummaged around in the fridge for a bit and realized I was a whole lemon short of a whole lemon tart. Being as far from a well-stocked grocery store as I am, I knew a quick run for a lemon was out of the question. But people, I am stubborn. I wasn’t going to let the lack of a lemon cheat me out of my tart. Plan ‘B’. I should say Plan ‘G’. As in grapefruit. I am a recent convert to the wonderful world of grapefruit love, and like many converts, I’m a little over the top about it. Happily, the results here were sublime both in appearance and flavor. These little tarts would make such a wonderful Valentine’s dessert. They’re both a little tart and sweet, kind of like The Evil Genius. Bwah hahahahahaaha (that’s his evil laugh.)
Deb’s recipe calls for using the whole lemon minus the pips. Since grapefruit has much thicker pith and much tougher membranes than a lemon, I opted to remove both of those from the equation along with the seeds.
First, let me just say that while I made white whole wheat crusts, you’re welcome to use all-purpose flour. The first time I made these I used the white whole wheat flour mainly because I was out of the all-purpose, but the crusts turned out so well that I decided to stick with the white whole wheat. If it ain’t broke… But for Pete’s sake, people, don’t use coarse whole wheat. It’d be like chewing on a wheat stalk with your grapefruit tart. Blech!
For a photo free, printable version of the Tart Crust Extraordinaire recipe, click here…
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen by way of Dorie Greenspan
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and placed in freezer for 30 minutes.
- 1 large egg
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Or pulse together in the bowl of a food processor.) Evenly distribute the butter pieces over the top and work in by rubbing the pieces of butter into the flour with your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Or pulse together in the food processor until it resembles the same…) Stir the egg into the flour mixture until it starts to clump around the spoon. (Or pulse until it begins to clump around the blade of your food processor.)
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter or baking mat and work it together gently until it holds together well. Don’t work the tar out of it. That makes it tough.
Here’s where it gets fun!
For individual tarts:
Generously grease 8 individual tart pans with removable bottoms. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Press one piece over the bottom and up the sides of each tart pan. Make the sides about twice as thick as the bottoms. Prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork. Place in the freezer until ready to use. It should freeze at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer. If it will be longer than an hour, you should place a double layer of plastic wrap tightly against the surface of the shell to prevent freezer burn.
For large tarts:
Generously grease a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom. Press dough across the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, making sides about twice as thick as the bottom. Prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork. Place in the freezer until ready to use. It should freeze at least 30 minutes, but preferably longer. If it will be longer than an hour, you should place a double layer of plastic wrap tightly against the surface of the shell to prevent freezer burn.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Butter the reflective side of a piece of aluminum foil and press it tightly against the frozen tart shell(s). You do not need to use pie weights or dried beans on this shell since it is frozen. It won’t shrink on you! Bake 20 minutes for individual tarts or 25 minutes for a large tart.
Remove the foil and gently press any puffy spots with the bottom of a mason jar.
For fully-baked individual crusts, continue baking an additional 8 minutes or until golden brown. For a fully-baked large crust, continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown. The key here is to make sure it has a nice brown color or it will be tasteless.
For partially baked individual crusts, only bake an additional 3 minutes. For a partially baked large crust bake only an additional 5 minutes.
Whether making a partially baked or fully baked crust, remove pan from oven when done cooking and allow to come to room temperature before filling.
And now what you’ve been waiting for…
- 8 partially baked individual tart crusts (alternately you can use 1- 9″ partially baked tart crust)***
- 1 large, unblemished pink or red grapefruit, washed and dried
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted and cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 325F with a rack positioned in the center. Place tart shells on a cookie sheet and set aside to prepare filling.
Using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, carefully cut away the zest of the entire grapefruit, leaving the pith (thick white stuff) behind. Cut the zest into smallish pieces and put into the bowl of your food processor or blender.
Cut both ends from the grapefruit so that it is stable while standing on your cutting board.
Using a sharp knife, cut the pith from the actual fruit in long slices from top to bottom, rotating the grapefruit about 15 degrees after each cut. Trim away any remaining pith.
Hold the grapefruit over the food processor and use a small, sharp knife, cut down alongside one membrane that divides the grapefruit sections. When you reach the bottom of the section, turn the knife upwards, following the section of grapefruit and come up the membrane on the other side. This ‘V’ shaped cut should cleanly release the segment of grapefruit. Repeat with each segment until you’re left with all the membranes. Squeeze the membrane over a strainer that is positioned above the food processor to get the rest of the juice from it. Make sure you’ve fished out any stray seeds before proceeding.
Add the sugar to the food processor, tighten the lid and process until smooth. Pour the sugar/grapefruit mixture into a bowl and whisk in the egg and the egg yolk. When that is thoroughly combined, whisk in the cornstarch and then the butter.
Pour immediately into tart crusts and place in oven. Bake for 16 minutes for individual tarts (or 20 minutes for a large tart.)
Raise heat to 350F. Continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes (or 15-20 minutes for large tart.) Remove cookie sheet to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes undisturbed. Remove tarts from pans and allow to cool to room temperature prior to serving.
Store leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the fridge up to a week. Not that they’ll last that long, mind you…