I adore grapefruit, but even folks who do not share my love gave this tart rave reviews. It’s beautiful, for one, and unusual, a real centerpiece dessert. The recipe is sourced from a book that played an important role in this edition of the journal; Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes. We highly recommend this book.
This tart calls for caster sugar in both the crust and the tart filling. Several calls to various local grocery stores yielded no results, so I took matters into my own hands. Turns out, it’s real simple to make your own caster sugar. Whirl regular sugar in the blender until it comes to a texture somewhere between powdered sugar and regular sugar. A little cloud of sugar-mist forms above the whirling sugar; wait till it settles out to open the blender and spare yourself a sneezing fit.
Prepare the pastry first, so it can chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
1) Mix your dough
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, butter, and salt, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs and holds together slightly when squeezed.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar.
Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and mix with a fork.
Squeeze a bit of the mixture together with your fingers. If it holds together, it is ready to roll out. If not, add 1 tsp ice water at a time and test again.
2) Knead and chill
Gently knead the dough into a ball, then divide it in half. Flatten into 2 discs and wrap each disk in parchment or plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
This dough freezes well and can be stored in the freezer until you need the other half. (If you are using a tart pan larger than 9", you will need more than half of the dough.)
1) Roll out your tart shell
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Because this dough contains so much butter, you may prefer to roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper. This prevents it from sticking and tearing and also helps to ease it into the tart pan in the next step.
2) Prepare your shell
Line a 9’ tart pan with the dough.
Prick the base of the tart with a fork, then refrigerate the dough in the pan for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven to warm as the oven comes up to temperature.
3) Mix your custard
Separate one of the eggs. Whisk the white with a pinch of sea salt. Put the yolk in a medium sized mixing bowl; you’ll get back to it.
4) Par-bake your shell
Line the chilled tart dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Place it on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake until the pastry is set, about 15 minutes.
Remove the paper and beans, and continue to bake for another 5 minutes, or until the base is lightly colored.
Remove the tart and the baking sheet from the oven, and lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
5) Make your filling
Finely grate the zest from 2 grapefruits, and squeeze the juice. Pour the juice into a measuring cup; you should have about 2/3- 3/4 cup.
Pour the juice into a small saucepan, add the zest, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.
Pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove zest. Push the solids against the strainer to extract the last of the juice and flavor.
Place the butter in the small saucepan and melt it over low heat. Set aside to cool.
To the bowl with the lone egg yolk, add the remaining eggs. Whisk in the superfine sugar until it is well-blended, then add the juice, melted butter, and a pinch of salt.
6) Bake your shell
Brush the base of the tart shell with the beaten egg white, making sure it goes into all the holes. Return it to the oven on the baking sheet for 4 minutes.
7) Fill your shell and bake tart
Remove the shell from the oven and pour in the filling.
Bake until the filling is barely set, about 15-20 minutes; it should be wobbly in the center, but not runny.
Transfer the tart to a wire rack and set aside to cool.
8) Prepare your garnish
Cut the remaining grapefruit in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into thin half-moon slices, about 1/8” thick. You need about 20 slices.
Put the granulated sugar in a saucepan and add the water. Place over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
Add only enough grapefruit slices to make a single layer of fruit in the syrup. Cover and simmer gently, until the pith is translucent, 5 or 6 minutes.
Remove the grapefruit half-moons from the syrup and lay them on parchment or a wire rack to cool.
Add the remaining slices in batches and simmer them as above, until they are all cooked.
9) Garnish and serve at room temperature
Arrange the grapefruit slices in overlapping patterns on the surface of the tart.
Over to You
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