When it comes to citrus, I reach for lemons, limes and oranges for juicing and for baking. They’re probably the most popular citrus when it comes to cooking, although the order in which you prefer them varies from person to person. One of the more often overlooked citrus fruits is the grapefruit. Grapefruits are popular when eaten whole (with sugar, usually) and juiced, but they’re rarely included in baking – especially not when you compare them to the popularity of lemons, limes and oranges.
So that the grapefruit wouldn’t feel left out, I decided to tweak my usual lemon meringue pie into a grapefruit meringue pie. Grapefruit has a hint of bitterness to it where lemon has a sharp acidity, so the merinue of this pie serves to take the edge off of that just as the meringue does for a lemon pie. The grapefruit curd has a relatively mild flavor and a great creamy texture. It is thickened with both flour and cornstarch so that it is thick enough to slice easily and cleanly, even though the custard remains tender and soft.
I really recommend using fresh grapefruit juice in this pie to get the best grapefruit flavor. If you must use store-bought juice instead of fresh squeezed, choose something that is 100% juice – no water or anything else added to it to take away from the flavor. This pie will definitely appeal to grapefruit fans, and even those who like meringue pies but are a little ambivalent about the fruit. If you dislike grapefruit, this might not be the pie for you. That said, if you want to give it a shot but take a little bit of the edge off the grapefruit, add in some lemon or orange zest to the filling in place of the grapefruit zest to soften the grapefruit flavor a bit more.
Grapefruit Meringue Pie
1 9-inch pie crust, prebaked (recipe below)
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp ap flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 tbsp grapefruit zest
3 large egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a whisk, for 3 minutes, until quite thick. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks with grapefruit juice and zest.
Gradually temper eggs with about 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, drizzling in the hot mixture very slowly. Return saucepan to the heat and, whisking continuously, stream in lemon mixture. Add in butter and cook over medium-high heat for another 3 minutes.
Strain into prepared crust.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
One filling is cooled, preheat oven to 350F. (Note: browning the meringue can be done with a kitchen torch, instead of putting the pie in the oven)
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in cream of tartar and beat at high speed until egg whites reach soft peaks. Carefully and very slowly, with the mixer turned to medium, stream in sugar syrup and beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
Spoon meringue onto pie filling and make sure to completely seal the edges or the meringue with the crust, leaving no filling exposed.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned.
Makes 1 pie.
All Butter Single Pie Crust
1 cup + 2tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, chilled in about 8 pieces
3-4 tbsp ice water
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Rub in butter in with your fingertips until mixture is very coarse, but no pieces larger than a large pea remain. Using a fork, stir in ice water until dough almost comes together into a ball. Press dough into a ball with your hands and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 30-60 minutes before using.
To prebake, preheat oven to 375F. Roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan and trim the crust. Prick the bottom with a fork a few times. Line the inside of the crust with aluminum foil, not covering the edges, and fill with pie weights or about 2 cups of dried beans. Bake for 25 minutes, until very lightly browned. Remove foil and weights and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until medium brown at the edges.
Set aside to cool.