Grapefruit Tarts with Champagne Meringue
Well I blinked and it’s Friday. And that pretty much sums up my entire week. Somewhere in there were several hundred cupcakes for Valentine’s, a sick 2 year old, a complete lack of inspiration as it pertains to baking (I’ve been craving oatmeal raisin cookies something fierce so that’s about all I’ve been baking lol) and some personal reflection and goal setting.
This particular dessert was not planned at all. It started with wanting to make an orange sheet cake but I had no oranges. I did have a few grapefruit but not wanting to make a cake out of them I started pondering some more. Grapefruit curd sounded good and it was relatively quick so I whisked (and cooked) some up and stuck it in the fridge. And then stood there thinking, now what?
The “what” didn’t click till this morning when my husband and I were eating spoonfuls of the curd from the bowl. It needed something toasty and crunchy and something sweeter to balance it out. The curd I made was just grapefruit so it produced a milder, mellow grapefruit flavor. My husband thought it was great the way it was but if you’re like me and want a little tang add some lemon juice (both ways written out below :)). The finished product was not bad. In fact, it was pretty darn good! Certainly not an every day dessert but I’m tucking it away for a nice spring dinner 🙂
Grapefruit Tarts with Champagne Meringue
Yields about 8 individual tarts
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh squeezed (and strained) grapefruit juice, about half a grapefruit*
zest of one whole grapefruit, about 2-3 teaspoons
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
*this will produce a mild, sweeter grapefruit flavor. If you want more tart to your curd reduce the grapefruit juice to 1/4 cup and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup champagne, I recommend using a dry champagne as opposed to a sweeter one
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1. For the Grapefruit Curd: Place the egg yolks in a medium size bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, grapefruit juice (lemon juice if using) and the grapefruit zest in a medium size saucepan and whisk until smooth. Place over medium low heat and whisk until the the juice simmers and the sugar is dissolved. Temper the eggs with the grapefruit juice by slowly pouring the hot juice down the side of the bowl while whisking the egg yolks constantly and quickly until all the juice is incorporated. Return the mixture to medium low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick like sour cream (it will get a little foamy before it thickens). This will take anywhere from 5- 10 minutes (but could be longer so don’t stop until its thickened!). Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Stir in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Allow mixture to cool completely in the refrigerator.
2. For the graham cracker crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). In a small mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Measure 1/4 cup of the crumbs, loosely-not packed, into each of 8 cups of a standard size muffin tin. Using the back of a spoon, press the crumbs smooth and so that they come up to the top of the cup. Bake for 6-7 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove and let cool.
3. For the champagne meringue: In a medium size pot pour enough water to come up about an inch. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to keep the water at a slow simmer. In a very clean, dry, streak free metal bowl of a standing mixer place the egg whites, sugar and champagne. Clip a candy thermometer to the side and place the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly until the temperature reaches 160 degrees (F). Remove the bowl from the heat (and turn it off all together!), remove the candy thermometer and transfer the bowl to the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating the egg whites on medium and gradually increase the speed to medium-high until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
4. To assemble: Pop the graham crust from the pan by running a thin small knife along the inside edge to loosen from the pan. Spoon a little of the grapefruit curd into each crust and top generously with meringue. Torch the top of the meringue if desired.
And a blog award! You people are awesome this week!!
A shout out to Kristina from Whipped Baking for passing along the Liebster blog award to me!! She has a beautiful blog with LOTS of pictures of scrumptious desserts lightened up so you can enjoy them more frequently 🙂 So go visit her at Whipped Baking and give her some love!! Thank you Kristina!!