Decadently delicious, this citrus curd tart is three layers of bright, dreamy flavors that are perfect for spring. It starts with a buttery shortbread crust, then a layer of homemade grapefruit and blood orange curd and topped off toasted meringue.
As the days start to get longer – yay! sunshine at 5pm – and we hope for warmer temperatures ahead, my taste buds start dreaming about all things spring. While they are usually focused on the abundance of spring vegetables from the garden or farmer’s market, there is always room for something sweet and this grapefruit blood orange meringue tart is just the thing.
It’s got a chewy cookie base, a creamy citrus curd, and a dreamy toasted meringue that makes me want to float among the clouds. It’s also the inspiration for this dessert’s name. Yes, even I can admit that grapefruit blood orange meringue tart is a bit of a mouthful. Citrus Dream Tart on the other hand just rolls off the tongue.
I will be the first to admit that it took some effort to get this tart to turn out just right. Once you taste it, you can join me in thanking my friend and fellow citrus lover, Jenessa. If it weren’t for her love of citrus, I would have given up on this dessert a couple months ago. Thanks Jenessa!
Below I’ll share my tips and tricks, including a little about what went wrong, and help make sure you get it right the first time. So, grab your kitchen torch and your springform pan and let’s make dessert!
For this recipe, I recommend using a 6? springform pan. If you aren’t familiar with springform pans, they are a two piece set that consists of a base and the sides. The side piece has a spring loaded latch that can be released to remove the sides from the base, which is where it gets its name. I picked mine up at Home Goods, but you can also find the same one on Amazon – look just above the recipe below for the link.
To line the springform pan with parchment paper I used one piece of Reynold’s parchment paper. Cut out the 6? round bottom piece and the 4? tall strips for the side, as you can see in the image below. If you don’t still have the paper inset to help trace the bottom piece, remove the side of the pan from the base, snap it together, and trace the inside.
To assemble: release the latch on the pan. Lay the circle flat on the bottom. Place the two long strips overlapping to line the sides, making sure they go all the way down to the lower portion of the base. Snap the side piece into place, securing the parchment as well.
The base for this tart is unconventional. I was looking for something with a little more texture than a pastry crust, but still buttery with a cookie crumb. After revisiting my Classic Lemon Bars and Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwiches, I knew that some variation of shortbread would be perfect.
Like most cookies, the butter must room temp to cream with the sugar. Mix it on a medium speed until it’s light and fluffy like cake icing. If you forgot to put yours out to thaw, run it through the wide side of a grater and let it sit while you assemble the rest of your ingredients. The small pieces will soften faster, without melting.
As I mention in the recipe, the shortbread is partially baked on it’s own before adding the curd.
The curd filling for this citrus dream tart is a combination of two of my favorite citrus flavors: grapefruit and blood orange. I love that it’s not too sweet, but not too tart. It’s creamy and balanced, and much easier to make than I expected. I like it on homemade drop biscuits, ice cream, and blackberry muffins, and I just couldn’t resist using it in this dessert.
For more details about making this curd, check out my Grapefruit Blood Orange Curd post.
Yes, the meringue on that whisk tastes just like marshmallow fluff. Well, that is if marshmallow fluff has just a hint of coconut in it. There are different kinds of meringue, including Italian, Swiss, and French and we are using the Swiss style. What makes it different? The eggs and sugar are beat together while in a double boiler before being whipped to peaks – resulting in a denser meringue.
To set up an easy double boiler, place about two inches of water into the bottom of a small saucepan. Bring it to boil and then place the bowl of your stand mixer on top. The heat from the steam will indirectly heat the egg whites and sugar in the bowl while you whisk.
MERINGUE TIPS AND TRICKS:
-Use room temperature egg whites.
-You’ll know the egg white and sugar mixture is warm enough when the sugar has melted and the eggs start to foam.
-Add the coconut extract and salt after the meringue has formed medium stiff peaks. It will mix in while the meringue progresses to stiff peaks.
-When it’s time to remove the pan sides, use the backside of a table knife to help release the parchment from the side of the meringue without losing the shape.
-To brûlée/toast the meringue use a kitchen torch and keep it moving to prevent burning.
From the shortbread cookie crust, to the creamy sweet tart curd, to that decadent swiss meringue, this grapefruit blood orange meringue tart is sure to delight your taste buds. Whether you are planning a baby or bridal shower, an Easter brunch, or Mother’s Day dinner, this citrus dream tart will make the perfect dessert for your occasion. If you happen to have leftovers, this dessert will keep best stored in an airtight container in the freezer.
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 3 TBSP sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Click the link above for the recipe.
- 2 egg whites room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ tsp coconut extract
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 6" round, springform pan with parchment paper.
- Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and salt, stopping halfway through to scrape down sides. Mixture will be soft, crumbly, and dense.
- Place shortbread in the bottom of the springform pan and press down evenly across the pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. The edges will start to brown, but the center will still be white.
- Click the link above for the recipe.
- Bring 2" of water to boil in the bottom of a small saucepan to create the bottom of a double boiler. (The 1.5 quart pan used for the curd will work well.)
- In the bowl of your stand mixer add egg whites and sugar. Place this bowl on top of the saucepan with boiling water to form the top of the double boiler.
- Whisk continuously until the egg whites begin to foam and the sugar melts. The bowl will be warm to touch, but should not be hot enough to burn you.
- Return the mixing bowl to the mixer and whisk on medium high speed until medium-stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Add coconut extract and salt. Continue to mix until stiff peaks form. You should be able to turn the whisk upside down without the meringue falling off.
- Scoop the meringue on top of the curd layer and use a spatula to spread and shape.
- Release the latch on the springform pan and remove the side piece. Using the back of a table knife, carefully remove the parchment from the side of the dessert. Shape the side to smooth if necessary.
- Using a kitchen torch, brulee the meringue. Keep the torch constantly moving to prevent burning. It's like roasting a marshmallow.