Saveur (March 2014)
We mentioned this a few weeks ago over on the ol' Instagramz, but the March cover of Saveur is a work of art. Beautiful translucent slices of grapefruit delicately layered on top of one another, like pop-art stained glass. Or like a cluster of Japanese parasols in a spring rain. Or like, um, a bunch of really pretty slices of grapefruit...
Anywho, we loved it. So we wanted to make something from the magazine's cover story on cooking with grapefruit, Winter's Brightest Jewel. We liked the sound of a Thai pomelo salad, and we salivated over the recipe for Grapefruit and Brown Sugar-Rubbed Pork Loin.
But we ultimately settled on this Grapefruit Terrine. We couldn't resist the retro vibe.
We've never made a terrine before. But growing up in the South, we both ate more than our fair share of Jello salads. (And the only difference between a terrine and a Jello salad is a French accent. N'est–ce pas, y'all?)
This kind of supreming refers to the technique for separating grapefruit (or other citrus) from the pith and peel, which can be quite bitter. Saveur has a great supremeing how-to.
Once the grapefruit is supremed, you dry it, layer it in ramekins and pour over what is essentially a gelatin and Cointreau-spiked simple syrup. Then you let it chill for several hours.
We had one rather large issue with this recipe: There is no way we could have filled six 8-oz ramekins with the slices from six grapefruits. We used standard-size grapefruits and were able to fill exactly two 8-oz ramekins. That's not a huge deal, we guess. We could certainly have filled our ramekins a little less full. But if you want pretty multiple layers of citrus in each terrine, we suggest you supreme more than 6 grapefruits.
Because we only made two ramekins -- and because we didn't adjust the recipe for the gelatin simple syrup -- our terrines set very firm. Too firm. That's on us. We should have used less gelatin.
Anyway, how do the final terrines taste?
We liked them! Okay, Zach liked them. Clay finds grapefruit bitter in general, and didn't think this sweet simple syrup was enough to overcome the bitterness. But Zach thought this was a nice, refreshing blend of bitter, sour and sweet. It's a great little dessert.
When you get down to it, the flavors involved here are awfully similar to the Clementines in Cinnamon Syrup that we made a few years back. That was a great dessert, one that we've made multiple times since then. In fact, we made it at least a couple times this winter. Swap in grapefruit for the clementines, toss in some Cointreau, and you'll have the same flavors as these terrines, and you won't have to deal with gelatin sheets or 6 hours of chill time.
If you want to try a terrine, you should! It's fun to make and fun to eat. But if you're more interested in the flavors of a grapefruit-cinnamon-Cointreau dessert, we'd suggest trying a grapefruit twist on that Cinnamon Syrup recipe.
Have you ever made terrines? Are you a fan?
Notes from Zach and Clay of The Bitten Word:
- This recipe calls for gelatin sheets, which may be hard to find. Using sheets instead of powdered gelatin apparently gives you a cleaner and clearer set to the gelatin. Per Saveur, you can order gelatin sheets at modernistpantry.com
- Using 6 grapefruit, as the recipe calls for, yielded only two 8-oz ramekins for us. You may want to increase the number of grapefruit you supreme, in order to give you enough to make layers in six ramekins.
6 grapefruit, 3 pink or red and 3 white, supremed, plus ¾ cup juice
5 gelatin sheets
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup Cointreau
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. kosher salt
1. Place grapefruit segments in an even layer on a double thickness of paper towels. Using more paper towels, gently press tops of segments to soak up excess juice. Remove top layer of paper towels and let grapefruit air dry, about 1 hour. Line six 8-oz. ramekins with 2 layers plastic wrap, letting 2” hang over the edges. Arrange grapefruit in layers between ramekins, alternating colors; set aside.
2. Place gelatin in a bowl and cover with 2 cups cold water; let sit until soft, 3–5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine grapefruit juices, sugar, Cointreau, cinnamon, and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved, 2–3 minutes; remove from heat. Squeeze water completely from gelatin; whisk into sugar mixture until smooth. Divide evenly between ramekins; chill until set, at least 6 hours. To serve, unmold terrines; peel off plastic wrap.