Grapefruit & Walnut Tart

grapefruit-walnut-tartI’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).

Adapted from Santa Rosa Plum & Almond Tart, originally plum and almond tart in Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

grapefruit-walnut-tartGrapefruit & Walnut Tart

EQUIPMENT

  • 9 ½ inch tart pan with removable bottom

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

METHODS

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Serves 8.

grapefruit-walnut-tartOPTIONS

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

STORE

At room temperature for up to 3 days.

SEASON

Winter.

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29 comments

  1. Wow, this sounds quite intriguing and delicious. I like that it is quick and easy too, considering how lazy I am; I think I might give this a try sometime during the week! I have made the blood orange pound cake twice these past two weeks, and it is one of the best pound cakes I have ever made, but I did NOT use raw blood orange slices like on the picture. Instead I “stewed” thin slices in a simple syrup + a little vanilla powder. The result was really good and didn’t last long.

    • Darya,

      It’s been a bit of a running joke with me of late, because really: who eats raw orange peel? But I’ve seen it all over the place of late. So I thought maybe, just maybe, if I sliced it *very* thinly, it could work. But you’re right: I knew that I should have poached it in a simple syrup first. Lazy Rationalization 1, Kaela 0. 🙂

  2. Trini

    This looks stunning, and delicious! I have a birthday celebration coming up that this would be perfect for..thank you for posting!

    • I really like the play of the earthy bitterness of walnuts and the sharp, citrusy bitterness of the grapefruit peel; but of course, any nut you like can work. I can see hazlenuts or pistachios, or macadamias for a lush (and indulgent!) splurge.

    • I couldn’t live without lemons, because they perk up so many things, but for eating out of hand, I agree: red grapefruit wins hands down. I only have three left: I might get a little weepy as I use the last one. 😦

  3. It’s grapefruit day! What a beautiful tart. And aren’t Alice Medrich’s recipes the best? I just love that, usually, you don’t have to plan ahead because the butter is added either cold or melted.

  4. Your tart is beautiful! I couldn’t be more inspired right now to get up and “try” my hand at this. What do you think if I tried it with a “non-removable bottomed tart pan”? Have to admit I’m just now starting to equip myself for baking. Haven’t picked up a removable bottom type yet.

  5. This is such a brilliant variation of that tart that I know and love! Beautiful photos. Yeah, I don’t get the whole leaving the peel on the blood orange thing, so I’m glad you hear your verdict of the situation. 🙂

  6. EL

    Two for the price of one: Both plum and almond and grapefruit and walnut tarts!! yeah! (and beautiful photos. I like the light)

    On the subject of eating raw orange peel. When I was a child I got carsick easily. One way that I overcame this was to eat raw orange peel. Because it is bitter, I would nibble at it (very small amounts at a time) and the smell and taste overcame the gasoline smells and illness that I felt. So yes, I do eat raw orange peel and would consider doing it here. . .

    Of course I also put large pieces of orange zest in my coffee instead of sugar. . .

    • I was also that carsick child, and still am prone to motion sickness: on planes, I always carry gummy bears, and there is a bag of Starburst that lives in my car. Somehow the chewy-tart texture and flavor helps me (a trick I learned from a pregnant woman who had horrible morning sickness!). I’ve never tried orange peel though… hmmmm.

  7. Sarah

    This wonderful tart is so sinfully delicious! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing! I had to use 1/4 all-purpose flour because I ran out of pastry flour but it turned out soooo good!! 🙂

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