When I was pregnant with my third child, my only craving was for pink grapefruit juice. Odd, but true. I don’t know why pink grapefruit tastes better than yellow, but there is just something magical about the pink sweet-tart fruit. It is so refreshing. In an effort to create a new dessert for a contest the other day, I ended up inadvertently creating this surprisingly versatile Pink Grapefruit and White Chocolate Curd. As is sometimes the case when I am experimenting, the actual dessert was a failure, but I realized just how many other options I would have with this special treat. If you have never had a “curd,” and think that I am talking about cheese…I am not. The most common type would be lemon curd, and it is a sweet, thick spread that you have probably had before. Lemon bars and lemon meringue pie tend to use variations on a lemon curd. You can really make curd with almost any fruit juice, but citrus fruits are perfect with their tartness that can hold up to a bit of sugar, butter and eggs. My main tips for a successful product (and not making accidental scrambled eggs) is to use a double boiler, and to whisk constantly and vigorously. Happy curdmaking!
First, zest your grapefruit(s) and combine your freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, zest, egg, egg yolks, and sugar. I like to use a large measuring cup for this. Whisk it together well. Now it is time to set up your bainmarie (or double boiler). You do not need any fancy equipment. Just a saucepan and a stainless steel mixing bowl that fit together pretty well. The bowl needs to be large enough that it rests on the top of the saucepan without the bottom touching the inch or so of water that you will put in the saucepan. Before beginning, make sure that you set out your white chocolate and butter, cubed. Also have your vanilla, an oven mitt, and pink food coloring gel (if using). Once you start cooking, you can’t leave, so it helps to be prepared.
Heat your liquid mixture in a bowl on top of a saucepan with an inch of water on medium-high. It will seem very liquid-y for a long time, and then suddenly it starts to thicken. Whisk constantly for about 5-10 minutes or until mixture gets thick (like a pudding) and slightly frothy. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the white chocolate until it is smooth. Add the cubed butter and again whisk vigorously until all of the butter has melted and emulsified with the rest of the mixture. Add in your vanilla and a drop or two of pink food coloring (optional). If you are concerned about any egg bits or not wanting the zest in the mix, strain the curd into another bowl. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set. Overnight is best.
So, now that you have this fabulous curd, what to do with it? Pour it into a tart shell or even a store bought graham cracker crust. Top with whipped cream or a meringue and call it a day. A pretty good day. Or just scoop it up with a butter waffle cookie (and maybe some sprinkles on top). I seriously ate a million of these the other day. You could also use it as a cupcake filling, an eclair filling, or top a shortcake. It would be delicious on a pavlova, pound cake, or angel food cake….The list goes on and on. Enjoy!
Pink Grapefruit and White Chocolate Curd
1/2 cup freshly squeezed juice and zest from 1 ruby red grapefruit
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (depending on desired level of sweetness)
1 large egg
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup white chocolate, chopped (can use good quality white chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 drops pink food coloring gel (optional)
Combine freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, zest, sugar, egg, and egg yolks in a large measuring cup. Whisk well. In a mixing bowl over a double boiler on medium to medium-high, whisk mixture constantly until thickened to the consistency of a pudding, approximately 5-10 minutes. Add white chocolate, whisking well. Taste for sweetness. If mixture is too tart, more white chocolate can be added at this point. Whisk in diced butter vigorously until melted and emulsified. Whisk in vanilla and 1-2 drops of pink food coloring, if desired. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Chill for 4 hours. Mixture could also be poured into a tart shell and chilled overnight.*
*If making a tart, you might consider adding a small amount of unflavored gelatin. About 1 teaspoon should be plenty. Bloom gelatin for a few minutes in 1/4 cup cold liquid (more grapefruit juice would work). Heat gelatin in microwave for about 15-20 seconds or until gelatin looks more translucent. Whisk this into curd before placing in tart shell.