Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grapefruit Dessert Trio

Grapefruit is kind of a misfit among the citrus group. It’s just a (totally unscientific) fact. When someone mentions citrus, you think Florida oranges, zesty limes, and tangy sweet lemons fit for a pitcher of lemonade; not bitter grapefruit. I guess it could take some getting used to. But even though it might be less portable and more intensely bitter in flavor than its squeezable cousins, I like it. I actually get cravings for fresh grapefruit juice and grapefruit segments. I think it’s refreshing.

When it comes to citrus desserts, it’s all key lime pie and lemon bars. Once again, grapefruit is overshadowed by the others. But not this time! Inspired by the underrated citrus fruit and its pretty pink color, I created three different grapefruit-flavored desserts. Using the juice and rind of ruby red grapefruits, I made mini grapefruit cupcakes with grapefruit mascarpone frosting, grapefruit sandwich cookies with grapefruit buttercream filling, and grapefruit sorbet. Whew, now that’s a lot of grapefruit!


The mini grapefruit cupcakes are perfect little tea cakes. They are topped with a delicious and light mascarpone frosting, which I happened to prefer over the cake itself, and candied grapefruit peel. The candied peel is a great touch for presentation but for serious grapefruit lovers only, as the flavor in the rind is so concentrated and intense, that even the candy and sugar coating barely mutes it. The cookies are just standard, simple shortbread cookies flavored with grapefruit, but their small size, light pink color, and buttercream filling make them especially hard to resist. And finally, if you have an ice cream machine, the grapefruit sorbet is the easiest of them all. To make it a little more interesting, I added a few tablespoons of triple sec.

Grapefruit Dessert Trio
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Mini Grapefruit Cupcakes with Grapefruit Mascarpone Frosting
Yield: 24 mini cupcakes
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoons ruby red grapefruit zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
- Red food coloring (optional)
Grapefruit Mascarpone Frosting
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon ruby red grapefruit zest
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
Candied Grapefruit Peel (Garnish)
- 1 ruby red grapefruit
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1) Prepare the candied grapefruit peel. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the grapefruit. Slice the peel into small strips. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the grapefruit peel and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a parchment-lined sheet tray to dry, about 1 hour. Roll the cooled peel in remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until fully coated.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners. In an electric stand mixer at medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one and time and mix until incorporated. Stir in the cake flour, baking powder, milk, grapefruit zest and juice, and mix until smooth. Add about two drops of red food coloring to tint the batter light pink, if desired. Pour the batter into the prepared mini muffin pan and bake until golden and set, about 30 minutes. Cool.
3) To make the frosting, beat the mascarpone until smooth. Add the grapefruit zest and juice, and the confectioners sugar, and mix until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish cupcakes with candied grapefruit peel.

Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies with Grapefruit Buttercream Filling
Yield: 15-20 cookies
- ½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Red food coloring (optional)
Grapefruit Buttercream
- 3 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an electric stand mixer at medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the vanilla, salt, grapefruit zest and juice, and mix well. Gradually add the flour until a smooth dough forms. Add about two drops of red food coloring for a pink tint, if desired. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, beat all of the buttercream ingredients together until smooth.
2) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cooled dough to about ¼” thickness. Cut out even circles using a small cookie cutter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Spread the buttercream over the bottom of one cookie and top with another to make a sandwich.

Ruby Red Sorbet
Yield: 1 pint
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
- 4 tablespoons triple sec
1) In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a medium bowl. Mix in the grapefruit juice and triple sec. Refrigerate to cool, about 2 hours.
2) Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to a container, cover, and freeze.