the only thing i’m thanking mother nature for in january, is for making it citrus season. we all need bright pops of colour and tangy, sweet treats that remind us of sun right about now. here’s where grapefruit tarts come in!
my favourite pies and tarts are lemon meringue and key lime – hands down, no matter what time of year. give me a lemon tart instead of pumpkin pie in october and you’ll be my favourite person. the saddest moment in recent history of mine, is actually when i was in key largo in december. this was on my trip to miami; we rented a neon green mustang convertible, and took the drive to key largo and over the seven mile bridge, which was beautiful. we made it right at as the sun was setting over the ocean (shout out to bae – the driver with perfect timing), but by then it was too late to drive all the way to key west since we had to drive back to south beach that same night, so we turned around after the bridge and went to eat some fresh seafood. now, the whole drive to key largo i read pages after pages of where i could find the best key lime pie. i was in the birthplace of key limes! this was my dream of all dessert dreams! but after dinner it was fairly late, and i settled on ordering key lime pie at the restaurant. i convinced myself that all key lime pies in key largo must be great, considering the history of where i was. so there i am, sitting like an anxious kid at the dinner table, the only one out of the 4 of us who had ordered dessert, and my pie comes. and it’s horrible. the filling was gritty and way too sweet – no tanginess or tartness to balance it out. the crust was mediocre, and the whipped cream from a can. BLASPHEMY. i had one bite and naturally sulked the whole way home.
so this is where these tarts come in. i probably should have made a key lime tart to make up for the nightmare a couple of months ago, but i couldn’t resist the beautiful, blushing grapefruits at the store.
this is what a citrus tart is supposed to taste like. i used heidi swanson‘s recipe for grapefruit curd from 101 cookbooks (the most beautiful food blog out there). it is silky smooth, tart but a hint of sweet, and spiked with ginger. i doubled the batch knowing that i would want to eat this with ice cream, yogurt, and just by itself. i think the key step in getting such a concentrated flavour is where you simmer down your grapefruit juice to about half. poured into a graham cracker crust to add some crumbly, contrasting texture, it’s really very perfect.
i can’t wait to use this technique with blood orange curd on the weekend – the colour will be phenomenal.
*makes 4 baby tarts
6 graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
use heidi’s recipe for grapefruit curt, found here. i strongly suggest not skipping the step of simmering the juice down, this really concentrates the flavour. also, use patience when cooking the curd over the double boiler. mix consistently for the full time it takes to get the desired consistency – don’t get discouraged if it seems a bit runny after 10 minutes, just keep mixing until the curd coats a spoon. remember that the curd will thicken as it cools.
preheat oven to 350 degrees. pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine. mix with sugar, butter and a pinch of salt until it holds its shape when pressed together. press into mini tart pans (i find using the bottom of a small glass helps really press it down evenly). bake for about 7 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. cool crusts on a cooling rack.
while crusts are cooling, make curd using the recipe above. inrease oven temp to 400 degrees. pour hot curd into cooled tart pans. bake on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, or until edges are set (they get deliciously caramelized), and middle still runny. cool completely on a cooling rack – the centre will set as it cools.
enjoy with fresh whipped cream.