Aaron May’s Grapefruit Brûlée Tartlette, as seen on Guy's Ranch Kitchen, season 6.
Recipe courtesy of Aaron May

Grapefruit Brûlée Tartlettes

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 2 hr 20 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 45 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
Living in Arizona has really given me an appreciation for the beautiful flexibility of citrus and the endless possibilities of what can be done with it. This recipe is inspired by that love of the local bounty and a fun twist on a classic.


Tartlette Shells:



Special equipment:
six 4-inch tart pans; a kitchen torch
  1. For the tart shell: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For the tartlette shells: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. In another bowl, combine the very cold water and egg yolk. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick.
  4. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out six 6-inch circles and press them into six 4-inch tart pans so the dough comes up the sides (see Cook’s Note).
  5. Blind bake the tartlette shells until barely golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Remove the tartlette shells from the pans.
  6. For the filling: In a small saucepan, add the grapefruit juice and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Once reduced, cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk the grapefruit zest, whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Once the reduced grapefruit juice is cool, slowly incorporate it into the egg mixture and return to the small saucepan. Cook over low heat to prevent curdling and whisk slowly. Add the butter 1 cube at a time and whisk until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the saucepan from the heat, strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Evenly divide and fill each tartlette shell. To finish, top each with a light dusting of sugar. Hold a kitchen torch 2 inches above the surface of one tartlette. Starting in the center of the tartlette, move the flame in a circular motion and work your way out to the edges to caramelize the sugar. Repeat with the remaining 5 tartlettes.

Cook’s Note

Alternatively, cut out one 11 1/2-inch circle and press into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan.