Friday, January 20, 2012

Double Takes: Item of the Month GRAPEFRUIT!

Double Takes is back! 

This time we're changing things up again. Its a new year and I'll be honest ....I don't do the same thing for very long without needing to mix things up a bit. We've decided to have sort of a weekly plan that mixes up our double takes. We've enjoyed featuring other blogger's recipes and will continue to do that once per month. In addition, we'll be showcasing an Item of the Month (random item that each of us incorporate into a recipe we develop separately), a crockpot recipe (b/c everyone needs meal shortcuts...especially grad students that spend too much time in the lab and too little time petting kitties), and a bread/cheese/or something that uses or goes with bread and cheese. Sound fun? I hope so. If you have other things you'd like to see us test, let us know. We like comments. 

This month's item of the month is.......GRAPEFRUIT! This turned out to be more of a puzzle than I expected. I like the tartness of this citrus. However, I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I like baking though so I had a couple ideas and settled on a crostata. This is the second crostata I've made now. The first, cranberry apple crostata with tangerine crema, was a major hit with my family the past Thanksgiving. This time I wanted to find something to pair with grapefruit. Yeah, what goes with grapefruit anyway?! I looked to see what other people paired and didn't really find much. I decided to think about appearance...color contrast, flavor contrast, and shape variation. I landed on raspberry. Weird, right? Tart with tart? Stick with me here. Since the fruit gets combined with brown sugar and then baked, its surprisingly sweet ...especially hot out of the oven or even reheated. If eaten chilled, the sugars can recrystallize and you'll definitely be hit with some tartness. 

Grapefruit Raspberry Crostata with Meyer Lemon Crema

Reaction: I was quite pleased. This is especially good warm and even better with a scoop of ice cream. My coworkers (even the ones that don't like grapefruit) enjoyed it. There were a couple holdouts who don't like the texture of crema. I get it. It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't swallow custard. Its funny how far you can come when people keep pushing you to try things. The crema is like a custard. If you hate custard, double the fruit topping and skip the crema. Those without texture issues liked it a lot. Those eating it warmed with a side of ice cream liked it best. 


Have a bite!

Raspberry Grapefruit Crostata with Meyer Lemon Crema

Step 1: Crust

Since the challenge requirements were to use Simona's recipes for the pasta frolla, I chose the first one she listed mainly because it only used wheat flour (standard all purpose). I did make a slight varation on this as I had no lemon available. I did have an orange so I used orange peel instead.

Simona's Pasta Frolla #1

a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar

1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour

a pinch of salt

1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

grated zest of half a meyer lemon

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Making pasta frolla by hand:

1. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

2. Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.

3. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).

4. Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.

5. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

6. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.

7. Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Step 2: Crema Pasticcera (Pastry Cream)

For this recipe, I used Simona's aunt's recipe with a slight adaptations. I didn't have extra large eggs so I used what I had (which were either medium or large, they were farm raised locally so they weren't graded.  I'd say you could use medium or large and it wouldn't make a ton of difference based on previous experience.) Since she said her recipe was notably not sweet, I sweetened it just a little. This was especially important since I was adding the tart cranberry apple element as a fruit topping. Finally, due to the lack of lemon, I used orange. Note, this will yield about enough crema for two tarts with half fruit, half crema or one tart filled entirely with crema. Here's my version:


1 large egg and 1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sugar (65 g)

250 ml milk (slightly more than 1 cup)

Zest of ½ of a meyer lemon

1.5 Tbsp all purpose flour (I use White Lily. A harder flour such as Pillsbury will make a stiffer curd.)

How To:

Pour the milk into a pan, add the citrus peel and warm up to to just below boiling point. To describe this state, I'd say, pull the milk off the stove when you first start to see bubbles form. I'd class this as barely simmering.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is bubbly. Basically you'll see some bubble formation in the top of the solution. Its not going to be like a bottle of bubbles. Just expect to see some small bubbles in the top.  

Sift the flour over the egg mixture and beat briefly until it is incorporated.

Temper the egg mixture with a small quantity of milk, then slowly add the rest of the milk, mixing with a wooden spoon. I alternated adding first maybe 1/4 to 1/2 c. of milk solution and then mixed the egg and milk solution together using a wire whisk.

Pour the mixture into the pan and set it to between low to medium heat, stirring at least every couple of minutes. When the froth on the
surface disappears completely, the crema starts to feel slightly thicker.

From then on stir almost continuously. When the crema reaches boiling temperature and thickens, cook briefly (1-2 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat. Then remove
the citrus peel. Place the saucepan in a cold water bath, and stir the crema to bring down its temperature.  To prevent making a mess, choose a bowl for the water bath that is slightly larger in diameter than your crema sauce pot.  Fill the bowl 1/4 to 1/2 way full with cold water and ice. Plan to have at least 30-45 minutes to cool your crema.

While the crema cools down, stir it every now and then to prevent the formation of a film over it. Since everything is cooked, feel free to have a taste.

Step 3: Fruit Filling


1 1/2 c. of grapefruit (remove the peel and pull the pith (white parts) away from each segment

1 c. raspberries

1/3 c. brown sugar (I tend to prefer dark brown sugar but dark or light will work.)

How To:

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir them together. Yes that's really it.

Step 4: Assembly and Completion

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Pull your pasta frolla (crust) out of the refrigerator. Unwrap the plastic partially from around it so that you have plastic on the counter top and the dough atop the plastic.

Cut away 1/4 of the dough and reserve it for making a top crust.

Place another piece of plastic wrap on top. Using a rolling pin or a sturdy plastic cup, roll the dough to 1/8 " thickness.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap. Using the lower layer of plastic wrap, lift and flip your pastry dough on top of your tart pan. If you are using mini tart pans, cut away a section that's about the right size and then move the section rather than the full sheet of dough. Shape your dough into the tart pan to cover the surface.

Add the crema. I filled the crema to about halfway up the tart.

Sprinkle the fruit mixture on top of the crema to fill the rest of the tart pan.

Roll out the reserved portion of dough to 1/8" thickness. Cut out strips to form a lattice or use cookie cutters to create a seasonal decoration. I used maple leaves and served this for Thanksgiving.

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned. 

Fresh from the oven, this smelled incredible!

Hungry for more? Hit the jump to check out what Mel created with grapefruit!

By the way, if you've done something interesting with grapefruit, feel free to comment and even leave your link in the  comment. I'd love to check it out!


  1. Tabitha,
    I love the way you make cooking sound like a story! Thanks for explaining how the tartness was removed by the cooking process with the brown sugar. This explanation made me consider trying this recipe. I am definitely not one to normally try grapefruit, but I think I can give it a chance!

    Also, the previous English teacher in me just loves your writing! I hope some of my writers choose to use it in such wonderful ways as they grow older!

  2. That looks surprisingly delicious! I might actually be convinced to try it!