grapefruit brûlée with black pepper

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grapefruit brûlée with black pepper

grapefruit brûlée with black pepperI’m not a fan of the bitter flavour profile in food, but grapefruit is the one exception. I absolutely adore a juicy pink grapefruit and learnt in my teens how to enjoy it on its own, sans any sugar. I was no doubt dieting at the time. I have also discovered that a few grinds of black pepper adds wonderful flavour and gives the fruit a subtle nuance of heat – in a similar way to how it works so well with strawberries. Life is all about making the everyday special, and adding black pepper and sugar to your grapefruit, and then melting it under a blowtorch until it caramelises to a golden crisp, takes the whole eating experience to another level.

grapefruit brûlée with black pepper

You could pre segment the fruit in each half after its been cut, but I kind of like digging it out with a serrated spoon. That way I am assured that I will gauge out all the pink flesh. You can use whatever sugar you like. The darker the sugar the more caramel the flavour. I settled on a light brown sugar, but next time I want to try it with palm sugar, because this is hands down my most favourite sugar in the world.

grapefruit brûlée with black pepper

Make as many as you need, but here is the recipe for four grapefruit halves:

  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • aprox 4 T light brown sugar (or white sugar)
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Cut the grapefruit in half through the middle and trim the underside in necessary to prevent them from rolling around. Place the cut side down on a paper towel for a minute or two and then invert and place on an oven tray.

Grind black pepper over the top of each grapefruit and then sprinkle one tablespoon of sugar per grapefruit half. if your fruit is quite small, I would suggest a little less. Hover the lit blowtorch over the fruit and move it around ensuring you let all the sugar melt. This takes a couple of minutes. Move it from side to side to prevent any particular areas from getting to scorched. Once it has turned golden  and the sugar has melted, it will harden. Serve immediately.

grapefruit brûlée with black pepper


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  1. I love grapefruit. The pink flesh is much sweeter than the yellow flesh. The only time I put sugar on is when my mouth cannot pucker anymore. My favourite place to eat them is over the sink while I squeeze every last drop of juice out. Yum

  2. Whoa – totally insanely genius idea! And the black pepper – who would’ve thought! I’ll definitely have to try and soon, since it’s grapefruit season

  3. Thanks Rebecca 🙂

  4. This is one of my favorite breakfasts from childhood, except for lack of a blowtorch, we would stick them under the broiler for a few minutes. Black pepper will be a great touch. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Pleasure Margot

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