Grapefruit Tart with Tarragon Cream

2 tarts

The herb's licorice flavor combines wonderfully with the citrus tang of grapefruit in this refreshing and light tart.


  • 2 large pink or ruby-red grapefruit, peel and pith removed

  • 2 large white grapefruit, peel and pith removed

  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise

  • 2 cups milk

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 6 sprigs fresh tarragon

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 3 large eggs

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

  • 1 standard package frozen puff pastry (17 ¼ ounces), thawed

  • Superfine sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Using a paring knife, slice between the sections and membranes of the grapefruit; remove the segments whole. Transfer segments to an airtight container, and chill.

  2. Scrape the vanilla seeds into a medium saucepan, and add pod. Add milk, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 sprigs tarragon.

  3. Place the pan over high heat. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; cover. Steep 20 minutes. Strain, and discard vanilla pod and tarragon sprigs.

  4. Prepare an ice bath. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Break 2 eggs into a bowl; whisk. Add cornstarch mixture; whisk thoroughly.

  5. Bring infused milk to a boil again, and pour over egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return milk-egg mixture to the saucepan, and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue whisking until very thick, about 3 minutes.

  6. Remove pan from heat, and transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Place bowl in ice bath, and let sit, whisking occasionally, until cool. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming, and transfer pastry cream to the refrigerator.

  7. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. and line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining egg and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; set egg wash aside.

  8. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 sheet puff pastry just enough to smooth the creases. Cut a 5-by-10-inch rectangle, and place the rectangle on the baking sheet; chill. Using a paring knife or a leaf-shaped cookie cutter, cut 22 small leaves from the pastry scraps.

  9. Remove rectangle from the refrigerator. Brush the bottoms of the leaves with a dab of water; place them around the perimeter of the rectangle, arranging them in an overlapping pattern. Prick the inside of the rectangle with the tines of a fork. Brush pastry with egg wash; return to refrigerator.

  10. Repeat Steps 8 and 9 with the remaining sheet puff pastry.

  11. Bake both pieces of pastry until puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer shells to a wire rack to cool completely.

  12. When ready to serve, lightly brush the remaining 4 tarragon sprigs with remaining egg wash; sprinkle with superfine sugar. Dry on unlined baking sheet, about 30 minutes.

  13. Whip remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form. Place pastry cream in a medium bowl, and whisk to loosen; fold in whipped cream. Spoon half of the pastry cream onto each pastry shell, and smooth with an offset spatula. Top with alternating pink- and white-grapefruit segments; garnish with sugared tarragon sprigs. Slice each tart into four pieces; serve.

Cook's Notes

Mint or rosemary can also be used.

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