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Pink Grapefruit Crème Tart: A summery sweet topped with tropical fruit and crispy meringue

Put those key limes on ice — Princess of Pie Arlene Lott has the recipe for the only citrus sweet you’ll need.

Put those key limes on ice — Princess of Pie Arlene Lott has the recipe for the only citrus sweet you’ll need

You may not believe it when first laying eyes on this vibrant pink tart topped with geometric tropical fruit slices and crispy meringue kisses, but ‘Princess of Pie’, Arlene Lott assures us that this is actually an ideal dessert for beginner bakers. For starters, there’s no pastry to worry about — the crust is made from a simple combo of cookie crumbs, sugar and butter. Oh, and those impressive, artful adornments? They can be easily tackled with a sharp knife, a squeaky-clean bowl, and Arlene’s helpful instructions. Check out the video below for her full ‘Easy as Pie’ guide to creating this summery sweet, then scroll down to grab the full recipe. 

Put those key limes on ice — Princess of Pie Arlene Lott has the recipe for the only citrus sweet you’ll need this season. 4:52

Pink Grapefruit Crème Tart 

By Arlene Lott

I love the colour combination of black and pink for this tart. Make it in a 10” round tart pan, or a 9” regular pie plate.

*Using a fine rasp will give the best texture to the zest and not leave you with too much of the white pith of the fruit, which can impart bitterness. You just want the vibrant, colourful part of the zest in your recipe. 

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Filling:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks (reserve the whites)
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
  • ½ tsp fine grapefruit zest*
  • 4 drops pink gel food colour (optional)

Geometric fruit topping:

  • Assorted tropical fruit, firm (I love using papaya, mango, kiwi, dragonfruit, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon — you really don’t need much to cover your tart)

Meringue kisses:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp coconut flavouring (or any other flavour you love)

Preparation

Whisk condensed milk, egg yolks, grapefruit juice and zest together in a bowl. This mixture will thicken a bit once combined. If you’d like to colour your filling, mix in a few drops of gel food colouring.

Pour filling into your prepared crust and spread evenly (you can gently tap the pan a couple of times on the counter and give it a little wiggle to help the filling settle). 

Bake in your preheated 325F degree oven for 15 minutes — this helps the custard set. Allow to cool to room temperature on the counter top and then chill for at least 3 hours if making a tart, or 6 hours if making a pie. 

Geometric fruit topping:

Before baking your tart, make a template of the area you’re going to cover with your pattern. You can do this by tracing the bottom of your tart pan insert onto parchment paper with a pencil (be sure to flip it over so you don’t get any graphite on your fruit). Or, you can go straight onto your finished tart if you’re feeling brave! I like working on my template so I can see how the spacing needs to go before I start laying it on top of the filling. 

Peel and thinly slice your fruits to about ⅛” thick. You’ll want to use firm fruit that will hold up to cutting without browning. Using a sharp cookie cutter, cut enough pieces to cover the top of your tart. Now get to work laying out the pieces! 

For more visual interest, you can use a couple of different fruits and alternate the colours in your layout. For more of a challenge, cut shapes into other shapes (use a very sharp knife!) and swap them between 2 or 3 different fruits to make a quilt-like layout. Have fun with it! 

Once you have your pattern determined, take your chilled tart or pie out of the fridge. Blot any excess juice off of your fruit and add them to the top of your tart. I like to use an offset spatula or a palette knife to place them, but you can use a small sharp knife if you don’t have one of these tools. 

Meringue kisses:

Before starting, ensure that your mixing bowl and whisk are free of any fats. Oil will completely deflate your egg whites, so wash your equipment well in very hot soapy water — everything needs to be squeaky clean. 

Combine egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer). Once combined, whisk over a medium pot of simmering water until egg whites are hot to the touch and the sugar is dissolved. I like to do a “pinch test” where I pick up a little bit of the egg whites and rub it between my finger and thumb — if you feel any sugar crystals, you’re not done! You want the egg whites to feel slippery. As soon as you reach the point where they’re hot but not cooked (it’s a fine line!), take them off the heat and put them right into your stand mixer and start whisking. Add your cream of tartar. The mixture will whip up quickly and give you a beautiful, thick meringue in just a couple minutes. 

Touch the side of the bowl from time to time — once it feels more like body temperature and your meringue is nice and glossy, you can add your flavouring. If you’d like to add colour, you can add a couple of drops of food colouring gel at this stage too. 

To make your meringue into kisses, preheat your oven to 190F degrees. Take a sheet of parchment paper and adhere it to a cookie sheet using a dab of meringue in each of the corners. 

Place a decorating tip in your icing bag (I like a star tip for this), and fill the bag up with meringue. Pipe assorted sizes onto the parchment. 

Bake for about an hour. Then turn off the oven, and let the meringues continue to cook without opening the oven door for another hour. 

Remove from oven and let cool. Now you’re left with nice, crispy meringue kisses you can arrange on top of your tart, or add to any dessert. Keep them in an airtight container and they’ll stay crispy for several days. 

Yield: Makes one 10” round tart, or one 9” pie

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