Grapefruit curd has been gloriously haunting my thoughts for weeks. Something about the grapefruit seems native to my family. My mom (i.e., Suz) loves it, from childhood days spent at her grandma’s Florida house. And somehow the grapefruit was always mysteriously in our house… Whether in juice or raw form. My mom eats it like candy. And she’s a purist. Back in the days when I thought it was too tart, I’d add some sugar and show it to my mom as if I was the front runner of the Enlightenment, insisting that it was way more delicious and how could she not want it that way. “Nope,” she’d shake her head. And then walk away, leaving me in a state of pure shock.
Now I understand.
The grapefruit is perfectly tart. And in the same way that my mom is a purist to its flavor, I’m a purist to curd. I don’t know when I decided that; I think when I started testing this recipe. But I decided it and I believe in it and I’m sticking to it. To me, using corn starch or flour in a curd seems like utter irreverence. Maybe it’s actually the best way to do it and maybe I’ll eat my words one day like Suz gobbles grapefruit. But for now, I am for real.
The process sans white powdery stuff (note: do not put crack in your grapefruit curd- it’s already addictive enough) takes quite a bit longer, but in my book it’s worth it.
Soon enough you’ll see this curd co-starring with one of the best cakes ever, but just hold your horses for now. Also, this dynamic duo is the reason I don’t have any photographs of the end result of the curd. Use your imagination. Now you can’t go wrong.
1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice*
1/2 cup sugar + 2 Tbs**
5 egg yolks
zest of 1 grapefruit
2 Tbs cold butter
Whisk together grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup sugar, and pinch salt in a medium saucepan and heat until simmering. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, remaining 2 Tbs sugar, and zest in a medium bowl. When juice and sugar mixture has reached a simmering point, you need to temper your yolks. While whisking fervently, slowly stream the hot grapefruit juice mixture into the egg yolks, until you have poured in about half. Pour the tempered yolks back into the rest of the juice and continue heating over medium-high heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes while whisking all the time, until the mixture thickens (it will go through a foaming and rising phase before reducing and thickening; don't be discouraged!). Remove from heat and add the butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until chilled, put on every edible item within reach, and devour.
A couple of notes...
* I used 1 cup of grapefruit juice reduction to intensify the flavor. To do this, take the juice of two grapefruits (for me this was 1 and 2/3 cup) and simmer in a saucepan until reduced to one cup. Voila!
**This amount of sugar results in a very tart curd. If you prefer it sweeter, increase the amount to 3/4 cup or 1 cup.