Crumbling Sunshine [Grapefruit Tart]
The term 'just one of those weeks' (or days, months, years…) has never rung more true or slipped more frequently from my lips than it has in the past two weeks. I’ve had to tell myself on numerous occasions that this winter is a true test of my patience, sanity and emotions. I hope I’m passing.
I think one main thing that’s keeping me down is the lack of sun these days. I don’t mind the cold. In fact, I like it. But I really do enjoy the feeling of the morning sun beaming warmly onto my face while walking to work. And more than that, it’s vital to my happiness some days. I just need it. My coworkers who have been lucky enough to witness my bleek moods lately would probably agree.
I woke up this morning frustrated with the icy, grey scene outside. I know I live in Ontario, I know this is what every single January/February looks like. No matter how many times as I tell myself that I won’t let it get to me this year, it always does. But alas, I do not control the weather. Yet. So I will just have to make do the best way I know how.
If I can’t feel the sun, you better believe I’m going to go leaps and bounds to be able to taste it. Thankfully in this case, leaps and bounds turned out to be more like tiny tip-toes. I love tip toes.
I had a few grapefruits laying around threatening to expire, so I put them to use in my quest for sunny flavour. I’m not a really big grapefruit eater, but I love grapefruit flavoured things. So when I came across a recipe for Grapefruit Curd, I knew it was just what I needed. Tangy, ever-so-sweet, and bright sunshine yellow. Made better only by the soft, buttery tart shell that housed it.
As you know, I don’t dabble much in dough without breaking into panicked sweats, but this recipe from Martha Stewart was just about impossible to mess up. I made it according to the directions, but thought the dough felt a little too sticky. I added a little more flour, over-kneaded it, fussed about with it too frequently to yield anything but a rock-hard crust… and yet it still came out perfectly soft, crumbly and delicate. That’s why she’s Martha Stewart and I’m cleaning curd up off my floor with a fork.
I managed to finish the tart, take some photos and have a slice before the incident, which only made more clear that the universe is not done testing me. While in transit from the counter to the fridge, I watched, mouth agape and unable to do anything but gasp, as the tart buckled in the middle and feel to both sides in a heap of gooey curd on the floor. Nothing to see here. Definitely not a metaphor for my life as of late . No big deal at all, right? Nothing a glass of wine, a deep breath and a clenched fist can’t fix.
If you’re missing the sun, or even if you’d just like a little more of it, this tart will fix you right up. It’s like having a pina colada on the beach. Sort of. Just try not to break your sunshine.
adapted from Honey and Jam & Martha Stewart
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/4 - 2 cups cups all-purpose flour (I used about 2)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds + 2 tbsp
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 11-inch fluted tart or quiche pan with a removable bottom, sprinkle 2 tbsp of ground almonds into the pan and shake around to cover bottom and sides.
Lightly whisk flour and salt together. Pulse almonds with confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in almond-sugar mixture. Add yolk and 1 1/4 C flour. Beat until combined. If dough is still too sticky, add more flour slowly until it’s firm but still slightly sticky.
Press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of prepared pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Bake crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Press down bottom and up sides if needed. Bake until golden brown, about 13 minutes more. I pressed the tart shell down twice during cooking. Transfer pan to a baking sheet, and let cool for 15 minutes.
8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit, finely grated
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
Combine yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, half of the zest, and the sugar in a saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and taking care to scrape the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve unto a medium bowl. Stir in the remaining zest. Pour into shell. Let sit at room temperature (or fridge) until set, about an hour. Optional: Dust with confectioners sugar.