Yellow grapefruit bars are lemon bars’ mellow yellow cousin! Try this refreshing baked dessert with fresh-squeezed juice!
My husband calls these yellow grapefruit bars a “sleeper dessert.” You know the kind: the food you don’t think you’re gonna like that much or doesn’t seem that tasty at first…and then it grows on you. And I have to say, I think he’s right.
When I first whipped them up as a last-minute Easter dessert, I wasn’t sure what to expect of them, either. They were mainly an excuse to use up some of the many yellow grapefruits I’d been gifted from my mom’s over-producing citrus tree. Besides, with the coronavirus situation, I really don’t want to go to the store any more than I have to right now…so using up ingredients I have on hand sounded like a solid plan.
I’d made Ina Garten’s lemon bar recipe recently, with delicious results, and was thrilled to have finally found one that didn’t end up runny on top, squishy on bottom. (If you’ve ever made an unsuccessful attempt at lemon bars, you know what a miracle it is to find a great recipe.) Could this tried-and-true recipe hold steady with a substitution of grapefruit juice–and a few other tweaks?
Why, yes, it could–and it did!
These grapefruit bars turned out yummy at first, but as their flavor deepened over 24 hours or so, they got even tastier. (Hence their “sleeper dessert” status.) Their flavor isn’t as tart as lemon, but if you’re not a fan of pucker-up acidity, that may be just fine for you. The shortbread crust holds together beautifully with the help of a splash of milk, since I always find shortbread needs a bit of extra moisture to keep from crumbling. And their fruity, gooey filling? Perfectly smooth AND doesn’t stick to the knife when you’re trying to haul them out of the pan.
If you need a springy sweet fix (and who couldn’t use a little something sweet in these tough times?) a pan of these will do the trick.
(P.S. Did you know there are at least five different types of grapefruit?) I can’t say if this recipe would work with any of the other interesting varieties, but it’s certainly worth a try!)
For the crust:
- 1 c. butter
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tbsp. milk or half and half
For the filling:
- 6 large or extra-large eggs
- 2 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. grated yellow grapefruit zest
- 1 c. fresh yellow grapefruit juice
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- powdered sugar, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
Make the crust:
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add flour and salt and mix. Add milk and stir until dough holds together. Press into the bottom of prepared pan evenly. Bake 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned.
Make the filling:
- Wipe out the bowl you used to make the crust. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, and flour. When the crust is done, pour this mixture over it and return to the oven for another 30 to 35 minutes.
- Cool and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.