The abundance of fresh citrus in January stirs within me my deepest indecision. Show me grapefruits alongside lemons and blood oranges and I go totally blank. How do you pick which kind to bring home from the market when they're all equally fresh? Not to mention that there are endless ways to use citrus. Cocktails and simple syrups are some of my favorites (like this Blood Orange and Thyme Cocktail, and this Lemon Lavender Simple Syrup).
During my last grocery outing I decided to accept the indecision, embrace it even. And I choose to stretch my cooking and baking muscles a little instead of going straight to the booze route (as per usual), by creating a zingy Winter Citrus Tart combining my favorite citrus fruits. I used grapefruit, lemons, and blood oranges but you could easily make substitutes here if you're more of a lime and satsuma orange kinda gal/guy.
The crust is made from Ritz Crackers, which is stupidly easy and adds a melty, flaky texture, and a buttery, lightly salty flavor to the bright citrus flavors that dominate the treat. A little fresh whipped cream and Pink Himalayan Sea Salt on top finish the dessert off perfectly. And just like that we're back at cocktails-- Margaritas and Mojitos have long proven the sour and salty combination is a winner.
Winter Citrus Tart Recipe:
(Makes two Suite One Studio Pie for Two pies, or one standard 9" pie.)
1 1/2 Sleeves of Ritz Crackers
5 tbsp sugar
1 stick of soft (room temperature) butter
The juice from 1 grapefruit
The juice from 1 lemon
The juice from 1 blood orange
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 cup of sugar
1 stick plus 2 tbsp butter (cold) cut into slices
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar
Top with a pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush all of the crust ingredients together in a mixing bowl until the crackers are in pieces, but not to the point of a flour crumb. Grease the pie dish lightly with butter or cooking spray. Add the crushed mixture to the dish and press along sides and bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the crust. Then bake for 15 minutes until the crust turns golden brown. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
In a saucepan add all of the filling ingredients (except the butter). Whisk together cold to completely mix before heating.
Turn the burner to medium heat, and whisk constantly while heating, about ten minutes or until the mixture thickens. The mixture will be thick enough when it coats the back of a metal spoon like a pudding.
Remove from heat.
Add the cold butter a few slices at a time and whisk together to incorporate. Strain the mixture through a strainer to remove any clumps. Then scrape the mixture into the prepared pie plate(s).
Chill for 2 hours to set. The center should have only slight movement when jiggled, but the tart should be firm along the edges.
Add the whipped cream ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until shift peaks appear. Add to the tart and top with a pinch of sea salt.
(This recipe was inspired by this French Lemon Tart from Food and Wine.)