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Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars are just like lemon bars with a shortbread base and creamy citrus curd, yet with the distinctly sweet flavor of pink grapefruit.
This is a shortbread crust with a perfectly balanced creamy baked filling of 3 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part kumquat or lemon juice, and confectioners sugar. It is neither tart, nor sweet. Just deliciously somewhere right in the middle. Prefer a sweeter treat? Easy! Skip the kumquat or lemon and go all grapefruit. Does tart resonate better? No problem. Adjust the grapefruit to only half and add additional tart kumquat or lemon juice. A fabulously adjustable recipe for Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars!
Last season, I brought you another grapefruit dessert, my beautiful pink grapefruit cake. Due to that recipe’s unexpected popularity, I have been wanting to offer additional grapefruit dessert ideas ever since.
For Valentine’s Day, I baked these tart and sweet bars for my Mom. I knew she’d like them, but wasn’t prepared for the rest of my family to be as wild as they were over them. Grapefruit desserts (grapefruit recipes in general) are not what immediately comes to mind when considering a bake for my crazy crew. More like CHOCOLATE!
But, I jotted measurement notes as I went, and think I have found a pleasing combination of tart fruit juices that marry well with sweet confectioners sugar. These lemon bars, but with delicious grapefruit and kumquat, have shimmied up my sweet snack short list.
Bring On The Citrus, and Bring On Spring!
Never have I ever wished for and yearned for Spring to come as I am this year. All of 2020 felt like a long winter, and for so many, this upcoming Spring will be a welcome positivity. A reason to look forward. I am baking and cooking up everything Spring. Literally. And of course, citrus fits the bill!
It should be noted that this recipe worked well with lime, orange, lemon, and kumquat juices in addition to sweet ruby red pink grapefruit juice. The ingredient that balances the fresh citrus in this method is powdered sugar. And the beauty is that you do not need to add more sugar in order to lessen the tartness of the grapefruit curd. In this method, it’s all in the juices…
I’d never experimented with anything other than lemon in dessert bars before this past Valentine’s Day. There were SOOOO many kumquats leftover from my small batch kumquat marmalade post a few weeks back. I did not want to waste even one of the cute kumquats my sweet neighbor Miss Donna had gifted me.
Initially I considered making the lemon bars Smitten Kitchen is popular for by simply swapping one acid for another. But when the wheels began turning, I just knew I was going to fool with the remaining kumquats and a new jug of grapefruit juice in the fridge. If lemon juice and lemon zest were specified for lemon bars, why then not grapefruit juice and grapefruit zest for this bar? LOL, like lemon bars with grapefruit!
Do You Have What Is Needed For Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars?
all purpose flour
a cup grapefruit juice
grapefruit OR lemon zest
lemon OR kumquat OR orange juice
a teensy bit of vanilla
pink food coloring if you want these PINK 🙂
What Are Some Steps To Ensure The Perfect Grapefruit Dessert Bars?
I have only a couple of tips to ensure your bars come out the way you like them. This recipe is adjustable where the “sweet” and the “tart” come into play. The beauty is that you needn’t add additional sugars just to get this where you want it.
The ratio to keep in mind is 3:1. That is, 3 parts grapefruit juice, which when cooked is sweet, to 1 part other tart juice, which remains tart when cooked. The 1 part other tart juice worked best during my recipe development as either lemon or kumquat. Lime was meh but it worked, and orange was not terribly discernable but also worked. The 3:1 ratio yields perfectly middle of the road not too sweet, not too tart bars. If you prefer to go super sweet, go all grapefruit. If you want more tart, do half grapefruit, and half kumquat or lemon.
Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars Would Make Fantastic Shower Or Birthday Two-Finger Bites
I use parchment paper when I want my bars to be flawless visually. I also use parchment paper when I bake in a non-stick cake pan. Never do I go at my coveted non-stick with the blade of a knife. EVER. I line an 8 x8-inch square baking dish with paper that overhangs by about 2-inches on both sides. This makes lifting the bars out of the pan after the chill clean and easy and able to be cut without buggering up my pan. Today, I am using a glass brownie pan and will use a bit of unsalted butter to grease the bottom and all sides. Good to go.
The room temperature cool down is an important step in between baking and cooling in the fridge. Do not skip it. The silkiness will go from amazing to crazed and bumpy and cracked without the room temperature cool down.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Blissful And Indulgent Creamy Pink Grapefruit Bars
- either an 8 x 8 or a 9 x 9 cake pan
- parchment paper – If you are baking in a non-stick cake pan you must line with parchment; the non-stick surface is not something you will want to use a knife on when cutting the bars, so parchment will enable you to lift the bake out safely and then cut.
for the shortbread base
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar + additional for dusting
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into pieces
for the grapefruit curd
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest may substitute kumquat if using kumquat juice in place of lemon juice
- ¾ cup pink grapefruit juice or Ruby red
- ¼ cup lemon or kumquat juice
- **optional – pink food coloring, about 3 drops if you want the bars pink as I have in my photos
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease either an 8 x 8-inch or a 9 x 9-inch square cake pan with unsalted butter. **NOTE – If you are baking in a non-stick cake pan you must line with parchment; line the cake pan with parchment paper that overhangs 2-inches on both sides.
assemble the shortbread base
- Combine the flour, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture begins to clump together. Remove the dough from the barrel and press onto the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the top.
prepare the grapefruit curd
- In a clean and dry food processor barrel, pulse the sugar and flour together. Add the eggs pulsing well. Add the zest, juices, and pulse again until all is incorporated fully. **NOTE – the bars will bake up only mildly pink if food coloring is not used. Add 3 to 5 drops of PINK food coloring if you want the bars pink as I have in my photos. 3 drops yielded me this nice pretty pale pink.
- Pour the citrus curd over the hot shortbread base and bake an additional 20 minutes or until filling no longer jiggles, and the edges are lightly browned. **NOTE – as it often happens when baking, these bars may crack on the top. It's okay, as they will be finished with a dusting of confectioners sugar in the end, and it lets tasters know they are homemade!
- Allow the bake to cool completely in the pan, about 1 hour. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. The silkiness will go from amazing to crazed and bumpy and cracked without the room temperature cool down. Then refrigerate for 2 hours minimally until sufficiently chilled. These must be chilled to cut!
- Use a sharp knife that has been run under hot water then dried to cut 9 squares, then each square in half into 18 bars. **NOTE – if you used parchment, lift the bake out of pan with by the parchment overhang and then cut. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.