Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Recipe: Grapefruit Brûlée

I ripped out this recipe a couple of weeks ago and decided that it would be a good winter thing to make as grapefruit reminds me of summer and in the winter that is always a good thing.  
Recipe: Grapefruit Brûlée
Servings: 4
Recipe by: The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen


  • 2 grapefruits, halved crosswise
  • 4 tablespoons raw sugar

Special Equipment

A kitchen torch - Using a culinary torch is the best way to caramelize the sugar into a candy shell, but you can also make this old-school breakfast treat using your broiler.
  •  Trim 1/4–1/2" of peel from bottom of each grapefruit half to stabilize the fruit and prevent it from rocking back and forth. Place grapefruit, cut side down, on paper towels to dry for 5 minutes. Invert grapefruit and sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar evenly over exposed flesh of each grapefruit half. Using a kitchen torch, heat sugar until melted and beginning to turn dark amber. 
  • Alternatively, preheat broiler. Transfer grapefruit, cut side up, to a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Broil grapefruit, watching closely to prevent burning, until the sugar is melted and beginning to turn dark amber, about 8 minutes. Let grapefruit cool before serving.

My Notes:
  • I pre-cut the grapefruit into sections (also know as “supreme”) before adding the sugar to make it easy to eat.  I also have grapefruit spoons that are great.  
  • I did not flip the grapefruit over on the paper towel to dry it out because I love the juice too much.    I just used the paper towel on top to pat them dry.  
  • I used regular sugar from my cupboard vs. “raw” sugar.  Education: Raw Sugar is what is left after processing the sugar cane to remove the molasses and refine the white sugar.  In North America raw sugar is actually not "raw" as it has been partially refined to remove any contaminants. Unlike granulated sugar, raw sugar tends to hold more moisture, and is lower in calories; on average a basic teaspoon of raw sugar contains 11 calories, while granulated sugar contains 16.  Chefs claim it melts and caramelizes with greater ease.
  • I tried this both ways, with the broiler and the torch.   I liked the torch better because it actually created a hard shell on top.   When using the broiler, it took a while and then the grapefruit was hot and partially cooked and it didn’t create a very “hard” shell.    It was kind of cool though because my pre-cut slices of grapefruit rose up due to the heat and looked really pretty.
  • Make sure to turn on the fan when using the torch as it definitely smells like burning sugar.  
  • I used a red grapefruit and a pink grapefruit to compare the flavor and I preferred the flavor of the red grapefruit by far.  
  • I did not slice off the bottoms of the grapefruit because I didn’t think there was much risk of them “rolling around,” and I didn’t want all the juice to escape out of the bottom.  
Grapefruit using the Broiler

Grapefruit using Torch

Verdict:  I love the idea of this.   However, I think I prefer my grapefruit cold with a sprinkle of Splenda.   The brûlée made it feel more like dessert and less healthy.   That said, I think it is a really cute idea for a brunch if I have company.  I would probably torch the grapefruits ahead of time and then put the grapefruit back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

It was fun to get my torch out and use it for something other than crème brûlée.   I might have to find more uses for my blow torch in 2012.  Let me know if you have any ideas. 


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