Celebrate late winter with this French-inspired, bright citrus tart, featuring grapefruit and ginger flavored pastry cream on top of a spicy gingersnap crust. The candied ginger garnish is the exclamation point to this perky citrus dessert.
I created this dessert for a contest on Food52. The flavor was so good – tart and sweet and gingery – I thought I’d share it with you here, during French week. I came up with this happy combination while playing around with a classic French citrus tart recipe in “The Cordon Bleu at Home.” The result is a far cry from tradition. While the flavor combination is unusual, the ginger and grapefruit really complement each other. Even Mr. Picky gave it rave reviews, exclaiming “I could eat the whole thing.”
As you know, that’s a pretty good review, coming from him.
For the Grapefruit & Ginger Pastry Cream:
- 1 cup strained, fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon brandy (optional)
- butter, as needed
For the garnish:
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped candied ginger
- 1-2 pinch sugar
For the Gingersnap Crust:
- 1 cup ground gingersnaps
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
To make the pastry cream:
- Bring the grapefruit juice and ginger to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks with sugar in a medium bowl, until pale yellow and fluffy. Then, add in the flour and cornstarch, whisking until smooth.
- Temper the egg mixture by pouring a little of the grapefruit mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add the rest of the grapefruit mixture and whisk. Pour back into the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk continually, while the pastry cream thickens. Once it first bubbles, cook for 5 more minutes or until thickened. Keep the heat rather low or it could burn. Remove from heat and whisk in Cointreau or brandy, if using. Set aside to cool – carefully rub a little butter on top of the pastry cream to keep a skin from forming.
To make the gingersnap crust:
Preheat the oven to 375F. Stir together the crushed gingersnaps with sugar and melted butter. Press into 8″ tart pan (or springform pan), I found the bottom of a measuring cup really helps to make an even surface. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until slightly browning. Let cool.
To prepare the Candied Ginger Garnish:
Toss the finely chopped candied ginger with a little sugar, to reduce stickiness. (This step is only necessary if you cut the candied ginger up yourself. If you lucked out and your crystallized ginger already came in tiny pieces it should be evenly coated with sugar).
To Assemble the Tart:
Fill the gingersnap crust with pastry cream, spreading evenly with a spatula. Top with finely chopped candied ginger (or try a candied slice of grapefruit). Serve chilled – slice with a clean, sharp knife. Enjoy with friends and a smile.
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