I’m having a tiny love affair with Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski right now; their figure skating commentary has been one of the bright spots of these Olympics in Sochi and their Instagram feeds (including the combined @taraandjohnny feed) are not to be missed. I love the Olympics, but I loathe the 5:1 ratio of commercials and talking-head noise to actual sporting moments that dominates prime-time. The daytime coverage has, in general, been much more about sport and much less about sportscaster blather and tearjerker human interest stories, and Tara & Johnny are the breakout stars of NBC’s daytime coverage.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of figure skating. Like gymnastics, while I can appreciate the grace, power, and precision required to perform at the highest level of the sport, I’ve always been frustrated by the seemingly random (and unfair) judging process. Tara and Johnny have managed to explain such obtuse concepts as deep edges, line, twizzles and side-by-sides, how these technical skills affect the judges’ scoring, and generally brought transparency to what has always seemed a nearly arbitrary scoring process. And somehow they manage to make all of this technical information non-boring even for the most casual viewer (a.k.a. me), and their predictions as to how the judges will score have been spot-on. Maybe I just take comfort in the fact that someone understands the convoluted scoring system. And? Through it all they are simply adorable. They love the sport, they are deeply immersed in the skating world, and it shows.
What does all of this have to do with a grapefruit & walnut tart? Absolutely nothing, unless you count the fact that this one-food-processor-bowl wonder was whipped up today during the short breaks in the ice dancing short program competition. As easy as it is to pop into the oven, it goes down just as easily: not overly sweet, it works for breakfast or an afternoon tea break just as well as for dessert. The whole wheat, walnuts and fresh fruit make it reasonably nutritious, so you don’t feel like such a slug, eating cake on the couch in front of the TV in the middle of the day while you watch athletes perform feats of magic (or at least twizzle to Gershwin tunes).
- 9 ½ inch tart pan with removable bottom
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 2 ½ oz (a generous ½ cup) walnuts
- 3 ½ oz (½ cup) raw sugar (organic turbinado), plus extra for sprinkling
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp lemon extract
- 3 ½ oz (about ¾ cup) whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
- rounded ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ oz (3 tbsp) cold butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing the pan
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally grease tart pan with butter. Zest the grapefruit. Trim off the stem and blossom ends, then slice into ¼-inch rounds. Trim pith off the edges of the rounds.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine grapefruit zest, walnuts, sugar, salt and lemon extract and process until the nuts are pulverized. Add flour and baking powder and pulse to combine. Add egg and butter: pulse until mixture is damp, uniform and begins to clump around the blade. Scrape into the tart pan and spread evenly into the bottom of the pan. Press grapefruit rounds lightly into the top of the dough. Scatter top evenly with coarse sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven until dough is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool briefly, then remove the outside rim of the pan. Dust lightly with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Last week, I made a similar version of this tart using blood orange, with a few differences: I left the peel on the blood orange (hey, everyone is doing it), sliced the orange very, very thinly and layered slices one on top of another, and added 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade to the dough mix. As I expected, the peel on the orange slices dried out and became tough & chewy: not overly bitter, but difficult to chew and impossible to slice cleanly. The marmalade made for a softer, slightly sweeter tart dough: it added some nice citrus flavor, but obscured the earthiness of the walnuts a bit. I like both versions.
- The pithy membrane holding the sections of grapefruit together can also be difficult to slice cleanly, but I do like the slight burst of bitterness it adds to the flavor of the tart. If you really do not like the bitterness associated with grapefruit peel, and/or you want a pristinely clean tart slice, you might consider supremeing the grapefruit instead of cutting rounds, and pressing the segments into the tart dough instead.
At room temperature for up to 3 days.