Hi there, Lark & Linen readers! Katie from Butterlust here, back to share another sweet treat with your beautiful faces. Today, we’re celebrating winter citrus. Whether you’re stuck under a pile of snow (like Jacquelyn and Sage), or sporting a tank top and wondering when February ended and summer began (like yours truly), the bright, refreshing colors and flavors of winter citrus are a seasonal indulgence to be taken advantage of.
Sure, modern agriculture stocks our grocery shelves with lemons, limes and oranges year-round, but I find that this time of year citrus fruit have an extra sweetness, or should I say spark, that you don’t find in the dog days of summer. Fascinating how mother nature knows just what we need at times, isn’t it?
These grapefruit tarts are my homage to winter’s best. I kept the crust traditional — butter, sugar, all the good stuff and nothing too fancy, baked to a cookie-like golden brown — in order to let the grapefruit curd shine. And boy does it shine. The creamy, smooth custard features both grapefruit juice as well as zest for a deep citrus flavor and bright acidity, with just a touch of bitterness that adds a lovely complexity and bite.
And oh my gosh, that color. You could choose to substitute lemon or orange here, but grapefruit’s beautiful coral flesh makes for the prettiest pink curd, don’t you think? As soon as I started editing these photos there were hearts in my eyes, I just can’t get enough of that rosy hue.
For the finishing touches, I piped stars of lightly sweetened, chamomile-infused whipped cream on top of the tarts and sprinkled them with chopped pistachios. The whipped cream’s slightly herbal notes add a gentle contrast to the big, bold flavor of grapefruit so that in every bite you get the perfect balance of sweet, bitter, tart, creamy, crunchy and herbal.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 2 cups grapefruit juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons grapefruit zest
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 chamomile tea bags
- 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar or honey
- chopped pistachios, for garnish
- Add the flour, confectioner's sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is in mostly pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and water. Pulse until dough begins to come together.
- Pour out into a sheet of plastic wrap, knead into a disc, and wrap up tightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
- When slightly chilled, roll the dough out until about 1/6-inch thick. Use a knife to cut out circle of dough that are about a half inch wider than the bottom of your mini tart pans.
- Press the dough circles into mini tart pans and cut any excess from the top. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottoms of the dough, and placed uncooked tarts into the freezer for 30 minutes.
- While in the freezer, preheat the oven to 375F. When chilled remove the tarts from the freezer. Press a sheet of foil onto the shells, shiny side down, and fill the foil with dry beans, rice, or pie weights. This will keep the dough from puffing up while baking.
- Bake the shells for 15-20 minutes, or until set and slightly golden. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Transfer baked shells to a cooling rack and let cool completely before filling.
- Add the grapefruit juice to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until reduced by half, then remove from the heat to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and grapefruit zest. Use your fingers to massage the zest into the sugar. This will release all of the fragrant oils hiding in the grapefruit skin and result in a more flavorful curd.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, cream the sugar and zest mixture with the butter until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, eggs and salt and mix until combined. The mixture may look slightly curdled; this is okay. Add the cooled, reduced grapefruit juice and mix well.
- Add the mixture to a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, usually about 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer. Just keep on whisking, it will come together! The curd is ready when it will coat the back of a wooden spoon, and is the thickness of warm pudding.
- Transfer the curd to a bowl and refrigerate until cooled.
- To assemble to tarts, divide the curd evenly among the prepared tart shells. Place in a 13x9 inch pan or similar container, cover so that the plastic wrap does NOT touch the top of the tarts, and refrigerate until chilled, preferably overnight.
- Add the cream and tea to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer then remove from the heat. Pour into a glass container, tea bags and all, and place in the refrigerator to steep and chill, at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- When ready to whip, strain the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat on high until thick.
- When ready to serve, pipe or scoop dollops of whipped cream onto the tarts and garnish with chopped pistachios.
- These tarts are best prepared the day before serving so they have plenty of time to chill in the freezer. To save time, make the infused cream the day before as well, and whip just before serving.
- You can use either fresh-squeezed or store-bought grapefruit juice for this recipe. If going with the latter, avoid juices with added sugar.