Thursday, December 22, 2005

An open challenge to all food bloggers:

Can you help me re-create a dessert? Last weekend, C, J and I went to Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena for an innocent brunch. I say innocent because none of us were prepared to fall in absolute lust with a dessert...but it happened, hard and fast. It started off innocently enough- J was content with his Green Goddess Omelet, C was noshing on her Hand Cut Beef Hash and I was unimpressed with my rather bland Turkey Benedict. I know- I should have never fallen for the notion that turkey could tickle my taste buds as much as a nice round of Canadian bacon, but hey- it's Los Angeles and we fall for that kind of faux-healthy thing. I say faux because we all know what hollandaise is made of. And it ain't tofu.

After our plates were cleared away and the waitress had to practically rip the bread basket out of our hands (they make this ammmmmaaaaazzzzzing white toast. Yes- white toast. It must contain a narcotic because it's simply addictive) before asking if we wanted to order dessert. Since we are all huge fans of their key lime pie, we didn't even bother to look at the menu just ordered it.

To our disappointment, the waitress said that there would be no key lime pie today....actually, not for awhile since it'd been replaced with a pink grapefruit pie. Same idea as key lime pie, just made with pink grapefruit. She insisted it was even better than they key lime, so we gave in and ordered it. It came, all pretty and peachy-pink in a perfect round, sitting on a crunchy cookie/nut crust and topped with a nice dollop of whipped cream. It had brûléed grapefruit segments and candied grapefruit peel scattered around it. There it sat, a vision in pink.

We then attacked- C from one side, J from another and me going straight for the top. One bite and we were asking for a fifth date. AMAZING. Creamy, tangy, sweet crunchy crust and undeniably, in-your-face grapefruitty. We tried a bite without cream, with cream, combined with a bite of the brûléed grapefruit, topped off with candied peel- every single version was simply transcendent. "Key Lime who??" we all asked, as we drooled over our deliciously decadent new friend.

Of course, the whole experience sent me on a mission. I must have another encounter with the luscious luxury, but I wanted it to be in the privacy of my own home. Since I'd never made key lime pie before, I printed out multiple recipes - although I soon discovered that 99% of key lime pie recipes are simply sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice and eggs. I knew that I couldn't get the beautiful pink color from simply using grapefruit juice diluted in all that condensed milk, so I pureed some rind in for good measure. I created a cookie crust by using shortbread studded with chopped walnuts- that part came out great. But the filling never achieved the flamingo hue that the Firefly version had. I am guessing that food coloring was the culprit in getting such a blazing glow.

The actual flavor was good, but again- not as intensely grapefruitty as the Firefly one. I wished I would have taken a photo of the one at the restaurant but alas- it never stood a chance once we took one bite. I did, however, take a photo of the Tuna Toast version.

If anyone has a great recipe for this type of Grapefruit Pie, please let me know. It almost seems like a combination of Key Lime Pie ingredients (minus the lime, add grapefruit) and a grapefruit curd.

Anyone up for the challenge?

The Tuna Toast version of Pink Grapefruit Pie.....


rexmo said...

Think Sanbitter soda would be useful in flavoring/coloring the pie?

Jon Flanders said...

Hey - I found your blog :)

Great meeting you at Z (sorry this comment has nothing to do with your Post) ;-)

Hope to see you there again soon

Santos said...

hello! here are my questions:

1. was it creamy in a dairy or non-dairy way?

2. was it opaque or translucent?

3. how thick was it?

here's what i am guessing, just to guess:

1. the grapefruit juice was combined with blood orange juice for both flavour and colour.

2. it was juice, sugar, and some sort of thickening agent like cornstarch, arrowroot, or tapioca cooked together.

3. it was a grapefruit curd made with juice, sugar, eggs, and just a touch of butter.

4. it was made with grapefruit juice mixed with strawberry juice and gelatin. and whipped cream. if creamy. or god forbid, grapefruit juice and strawberry jello, with non-dairy whipped topping like they do in texas.

any of those sound possible?

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Hi Santos- I hope you can help me!!

1) it was definitely creamy in a dairy way, but definitely had some gelatin. It was firmer than just a cornstarch/egg mixture.

2) Opaque.

3) Quite firm. No outer crust, just bottom crust, and was thick enough to stand straight up- no gloppiness, no drippiness. Again, I'm thinking gelatin.

I'm pretty sure flavorless gelatin was used, but the flavor was all natural- intensely pink grapefruit. If another citrus (like blood orange) was used, I couldn't tell.

Thanks for your comments everyone!

JON: Nice meeting you as well. Hope to see you at Z next time!!!

rexmo said...

Google shows several copies of a recipe with strawberry jello.

Anonymous said...

Strawberry Jello, indeed. The very idea. I'm hurt. There's no gelatin in it, just condensed milk, yolks, grapefruit juice, zest/oil of grapefruit, salt, citric acid and a drop of pink food coloring. I had to add the coloring, because otherwise it was an unappealing fleshy tan that clashed with the gorgeous natural magenta of the bruleed grapefruit supremes. I wrote you out the recipe on some other blog site--I'm new to this, but let me know if you got it.