We need more food trucks in the world, right?
Well that’s what Maria and I thought after college. We had a great concept: cute girls serving pie. “Peddling Pies,” as I dubbed it, would serve sweet and savory pies to the hipster masses. I even had a logo all thought up, a cat riding a bike, and the wheels of the bike would be pies. Where is my venture capital money? If any of you steal this idea from me, I will cut you.
Between the two of us, Maria and I had maybe what amounted to one full-time job, so we had plenty of time to dream about the pie truck, but no money to make it happen. I think our business plan, if you can call it that, involved us selling pies from a basket at farmer’s markets, or maybe we would get bikes and be delivery pie girls. We never got deep into execution.
The furthest we got was some recipe testing. It was the middle of winter so easy fruit pies weren’t the first things we added to the menu; no, we went straight into advanced baking. Chocolate-covered pretzels sound good, so why not pie it? We ended up with a crust made of crushed pretzels that barely held together and a serviceable chocolate filling. And I somehow ended up taking the whole thing home and attempting to eat it over the course of a week.
Maybe if we had started with an easier pie or a filling that could do double-duty as an actual breakfast, I would be writing this from our pie truck. A better first pie for a budding baking empire is something easy to assemble, like mini tart shells topped with creamy yogurt and grapefruit curd. And you can eat them at any time of day and not be wrong.
I buy grapefruits by the bagful come wintertime and thought curd would be a great way to use up a bunch. I looked to Food In Jars for a recipe, and her blood orange curd used a bunch of oranges, so I thought I’d make quick work of my grapefruit stash. Eh not so much, merely one-and-a-half grapefruits did the job for me, but I did go through half a dozen egg yolks. I’m stashing the whites in the freezer for an upcoming pavlova project.
The endless egg yolks, grapefruit juice and zest are whisked together with sugar and then stirred over a make-shift double boiler till the eggs cook and instead of becoming scrambled eggs in juice. They then turn into a thick tart ribbon of deliciousness. I don’t know if I was scared of making grapefruit eggs and didn’t turn the heat up high enough, but it took me a half hour to thicken the grapefruit curd. But it was relaxing, kind of like making risotto, standing over a warm stove mindlessly stirring.
The action really got going when I pulled the curd off the stovetop and beat in softened butter. I freaked out that it wasn’t cooling fast enough so I plunged the bowl into an ice bath and beating the mix for a few minutes did the trick. Even with the polar bear plunge, this curd isn’t thick like it would set up on a piece of toast, it’s a little more runny. Like something you’d slather on bread and the excess would drip down the sides. To hold in the winter sunshine, I baked up some mini tart shells, using the recipe from my peanut butter chocolate mousse pie. For these shells, I subbed out the coffee for vanilla. You can drink your coffee with these tarts, instead of in them. Dolloped in the shells is some greek yogurt and then a spoonful of the grapefruit curd on top. But the curd would be just as happy swirled in your morning yogurt or folded into whipped cream.
Maria and I are in Pittsburgh this weekend, so maybe “Peddling Pies” can get a fresh start and a new menu addition.
- ½ cup grapefruit juice, 1 grapefruit should yield enough juice.
- Zest from one grapefruit
- 6 egg yolks
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 4 ounces salted butter, cut into cubes
- Separate the egg yolks. You don’t need the whites but don’t toss them, save for an omelet or make a pavlova to go with the curd.
- Zest 1 grapefruit with a microplane and juice enough grapefruits to get 1/2 cup of juice.
- Whisk together the egg yolks, zest, juice, and sugar in a heatproof bowl. The mixture will initially look curdled.
- Pour an inch of water into a small pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Place the heatproof bowl over the small pot. Using a heatproof spatlua, stir the mixture until it thickens.
- This took me about a half hour. If the curd texture doesn’t go away then take the bowl off the heat and stir off the heat for a little bit.
- Once the mixture is thickened, take off the heat and beat in the butter.
- When the mixture is cool you can scrape it into a bowl and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.