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Grapefruit Tart

Aya Brackett

Servings: 8

This unusual tart features a grapefruit custard baked in a pastry shell and topped with slices of candied grapefruit, balancing tartness with bittersweet.

This recipe is excerpted from Bitter. Read our review.


For the pastry dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • A pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup superfine (caster) sugar

For the tart

  • 3 eggs
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 small grapefruit
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup superfine (caster) sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water


Make the dough

  • Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles very coarse bread crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Pour the egg mixture over the flour and butter mixture and then mix with a fork. Squeeze a bit of the mixture between your fingers. If it holds together, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; if not, add a couple of teaspoons of ice water and test again.
  • Gently knead the dough into a ball, then divide the pastry in half, and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

Make the tart

  • Roll out one disk of pastry dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch tart pan. Prick the base of the tart with a fork, right through to the metal, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place a heavy baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 375°F.
  • Separate 1 of the eggs, and add the yolk to the other 2 eggs. Whisk the egg white with a pinch of salt.
  • Line the tart with parchment paper and fill it with dried beans. Place it on the hot baking sheet 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 shell from the oven on the baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Meanwhile, finely grate the zest from 1 grapefruit and squeeze the juice. Pour the juice into a measuring cup, you should have 2/3 to 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 4 minutes. Let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing on the zest to extract all the juice. Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat; set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk, then whisk in the superfine sugar. Continue to whisk until the sugar is well blended, then whisk in the juice, melted butter, and a pinch of salt. 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 a baking sheet, for 4 minutes.
  • Pour the filling into the tart shell, and bake until barely set, 15 to 18 minutes; the filling should still be wobbly, but not runny, in the center. Transfer the tart to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Cut the remaining grapefruit in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into thin half-moon slices, about 1/8 inch. You need about 20 slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a large wire rack on top.
  • 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 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the slices, drain, and transfer them to the rack on the baking sheet. Add the remaining slices in batches and continue simmering, covered, until they are all cooked. You’ll need 16 slices for the tart, so if 1 or 2 fall apart don’t worry, you can eat them.
  • Mentally divide the tart into 8 portions. On each portion, place 2 slices of cooked grapefruit, overlapping them so the rind edge is to the outside and they make a  stylized fish shape. You can, of course, cover the tart in cooked grapefruit slices, and while this looks very pretty, it makes the tart very difficult to cut. I prefer practicality to looks in this recipe.


This recipe makes twice the amount of pastry dough you’ll need. If not using the second disk of dough right away, it freezes well, wrapped in plastic.


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