From Kate Nelson, Piecurious Catering and Pie Company, Dallas:
This pie is reserved for the true blue Texas grapefruit fan, and not for the faint of citrus. The texture is that of a key lime pie with the appearance of a lemon chess pie. Kate Nelson developed this recipe for the Texas Grapefruit Dinner, hosted by chef Graham Dodds. “He provided me with the best batch of Rio Grande Valley grapefruit that I’d ever seen,” says Nelson. “My goal is to create the freshest farm-totable pie that I can. I always have wonderful luck at Dallas Farmers Market.”
Use the “spoon test” to determine if you have cooked the filling long enough. “This test was passed down to me,” says Nelson, “by the long line of matriarchal bakers in my family and has stood the test of time. Before removing the filling mixture from the heat, take a teaspoon and dip out a bit of the filling. Let the spoon rest for about 30 seconds. Spin the spoon upside down and hold it that way. If the filling stays and does not drip or droop down, the filling is finished and is sure to set up properly. If it drips or droops down, boil the filling five additional minutes and repeat the test. This trick is extremely useful for all pie fillings that require boiling.”
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 egg yolks
- 4-5 red medium grapefruits
- 1 (16-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 9-inch pre-made pie crust
- fresh whipped cream, for garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the sugar and the flour; set aside.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks; set aside at room temperature.
- Cut the grapefruit into quarters and remove the fruit from each section of rind, discarding any big pieces of white pith in the center (use clean hands or a paring knife, as you prefer). Place the chunks of peeled fruit in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups water. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Once the water is boiling, blend in the remaining ½ cup sugar. Boil, stirring frequently, until the fruit is well broken down and the mixture is thick and pulpy, 10–15 minutes.
- Whisk in the sugar-flour mixture until everything is well blended. Slowly stir in the condensed milk until the mixture is smooth. Pour ½ cup of the hot fruit mixture into the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Pour the tempered egg yolks into the saucepan and blend thoroughly. Stir in the lemon juice. Boil until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the filling into the baked pie shell and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with freshly whipped cream for a grand balance of flavor and texture.
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