It was over a year ago (can you believe we’ve been in the pandemic for over a year now?) when I wrote about a resurgence in anti-Asian sentiments, driven by racist pandemic rhetoric but symptomatic of underlying currents of white supremacy that continue to persist. I thought I was taking it seriously then, but when I go back and read what I wrote, that “anti-Chinese racism[…] is alive and thriving in Canada, I didn’t doubt,” it rings weakly. At the time, I don’t think I really, really meant it. Not in a way that could imagine what happened in Atlanta was possible. Who would ever want to think such a thing could happen? – is my excuse.
I’ve been thinking more about why I kept harbouring hesitancy about the extent of anti-Asian racism, even when I’m a descendant of immigrants who paid an astronomical head tax, and other members of my extended family were interned. I think it’s because the model minority myth has been pervasive in my thinking – it posits that “Asians are pretty much white,” collapses the experiences of a diverse group into one, and suggests that the socioeconomic successes of some members means that structural barriers don’t exist. All of which are false. This is what I need to unlearn.
There is much more to be said on that, but better from other people than me. Here are some other things I’ve read recently:
- Reading up on the model minority myth and learning to unlearn it – the articles above are excellent, and this is a fantastic explainer as well.
- The Juxtapositions of Asians – Fakequity, a concise and thoughtful series of points on “juxtapositions” of the Asian experience, some seemingly contrary and some not
- Bystander intervention training – provided by Hollaback and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, I took it last summer and learned a lot!
- The facts: Covid Racism incident reporting map, StatsCan report on perceptions of public safety among visible minority groups
- Black and Asian solidarity against racism is powerful. But it is not the solution. – An article from Alicia Yue in Maclean’s, about who we ask for solidarity from and how. (Edited May 2021 to add this)
This is one of my favourite tarts. On the coattails of a grapefruit cake, this is a grapefruit tart (emphasis on the grapefruit, thank you). The tart shell is filled with a thick grapefruit cream, and topped with half spheres of grapefruit jelly, grapefruit posset, and strips of candied grapefruit peel; dollops of whipped cream fill in the empty spaces.
The diversity of toppings means every bite tastes a bit different – tart jelly, sweet posset, or bitter candied peel – but it all tastes of grapefruit.
The grapefruit cream is based on the more modern-style lemon cream tarts: a curd-like fillling, but with butter emulsified in after the fact, resulting a cream that despite being 80% butter (an approximation), is still light, not too buttery, and allows the citrus to shine through. Grapefruit is a bit milder than lemon, so I’ve concentrated the juice to intensify the flavour. The first time I made this tart, the filling suffered slightly under all the toppings. To enhance the structure of the cream, I’ve added a tiny bit of gelatin, an amount that in no way imparts any gelatinousness, but just a bit of extra structural insurance. The other tip to keep in mind while making the filling is to pay attention to the temperature of your butter – as I’ve instructed in the recipe, this works better with butter that is still a bit cool to the touch.
grapefruit cream tart
Enough to line a 6″ tart ring around 2cm high.
- 56g soft butter
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 15g granulated sugar
- 25g beaten room temperature egg (half an egg)
- 105g flour (half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
Cream the butter with the salt and sugar. Beat in the egg a bit at a time. Lastly add the flour and mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Knead a couples times to smooth out the dough. Roll out to around 1/8″ thick between two sheets of parchment paper, then chill completely.
Have ready a 6″ diametre tart ring that is 2cm high.
Cut out a circle from the chilled tart dough that is 2″ wider in diameter than the tart ring. Let it warm up until more malleable, then press into the ring (being sure to fit it into any corners) and trim off any excess. Chill completely until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Dock the bottom of the tart with a fork. If you like, you can blind bake, but I’ve found a couple times now that I actually haven’t needed to so long as my tart dough is thoroughly chilled and the base is docked.
Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden. Brush the tart with a little bit of extra beaten egg as an additional seal (and if you have any cracks, that can help seal those as well) and bake for another 2-3 minutes.
Adapted from Pierre Herme via Tartelette. This is still fairly lightly sweetened – add closer to 125g for a more standard sweetness. I’ve also added just a bit of gelatin to help the cream hold it’s shape when sliced and under the weight of all the toppings – not enough to make the cream gelatinous or stiff, but a bit stronger. But, if for instance you were to make these as mini individual tarts, I think it would be unnecessary as the tarts wouldn’t need to be sliced.
- 120g strained grapefruit juice that has been reduced by half (from about 240g grapefruit juice)* see note
- 75g granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 170g (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cool* see note
- 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin bloomed in 1 tsp water
Whisk together the grapefruit juice with the sugar and egg until smooth. Set over a double boiler and stir vigorously and constantly with a rubber spatula until temperature reaches 180F.
Immediately pass through a sieve into a 2-4 cup liquid measuring cup. Let cool until the temperature reaches 140F then blend in soft butter, a few chunks at a time with an immersion blender (alternatively, you can transfer the curd directly into a stand blender and use that).
Melt the gelatin in the microwave and immediately blend into the cream. Scrape the grapefruit cream into the prepared tart tin and chill completely. Do this as soon as possible for a smooth surface (though in this instance, it’s okay if it’s not smooth as we’ll be covering it up completely!
*A note on the grapefruit juice: You will get a stronger grapefruit flavour by reducing the juice by about half. Strain the grapefruit juice, put it in a saucepan and simmer down. Measure out 120g. The caveat is that this process will turn the colour of the juice a bit more orange. There are a few ways to amend this – I added a touch of blood orange juice to this batch because that’s what I happened to have on hand. Other options could include anything quite red, such as bit of cherry or pomegranate juice, strawberry puree, or throw in a couple dried hibiscus flowers while reducing the juice (though in the case of hibiscus, you will likely taste the flavour).
*A note on “cool” butter: I find that the cream turns out thicker and better in consistency if you do use cool, rather than room temperature, butter. I took the butter out of the fridge when I started making the curd, giving it a bit of time to warm up.
grapefruit cardamom posset
Makes about twelve 3-cm diametre posset domes. Adapted from here. The cardamom is very optional – one time I made it with, and one time I made it without – I would decide based on whether you’re feeling like a bit of cardamom or not! If you’d like to leave it out, just leave out the cardamom and pomegranate juice and skip the straining step.
- 90g 36% milk fat cream
- 25g granulated sugar
- 6 small cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp grapefruit juice
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- tiny splash of pomegranate juice – optional, but helps to neutralize the bit of greenish tint from the cardamom
Crack the cardamom pods with the heel of your hand. Add along with the cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes while whisking or stirring, then remove from the heat and immediately add the grapefruit and juices, whisking until incorporated. Stir in a tiny bit of pomegranate juice (not too much so as to not loosen the posset – I added about 1/2 to 1 tsp). Pass the posset through a small strainer to remove the cardamom and into a cup with a pouring spout. Fill 3-cm diameter silicon dome molds with the posset – I had enough to fill 12 domes. Freeze until solid – give it an hour.
Makes about six 3cm diametre grapefruit jelly domes
- 48g freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (I left mine unstrained for a more cloudy appearance)
- 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
Bloom the gelatin in the grapefruit juice, then heat in the microwave to melt the gelatin (as it’s a small quantity it won’t take too long – try 20-30 seconds or so!). Fill 3-cm diameter silicon dome molds with the jelly. Freeze until solid – give it an hour.
candied grapefruit peel
- grapefruit peels
After juicing the grapefruit, use your fingers to peel the leftover membrane and pulp away from the interior of the peel, leaving the pith and zest behind. Cut the peels into thin strips.
Place the peels in a saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes, then drain and rinse and return to the pot. Repeat boiling, draining and rinsing once or twice more.
Return the peels to the pot and add around 1 cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar (this is what I used for the peels of two grapefruits), or however much you need to cover the peels. Boil the mixture for about 10 minutes or so, or until the liquid appears syrupy. By now the peels should be tender and the pith should have a translucent character.
Note: This will make a lot of extra peels! A nice way to eat the leftovers is chocolate covered. Drain the peels, and pat off excess sugar syrup with paper towels. Melt dark chocolate and dip the peels in, draining off the excess chocolate before laying the peels to set on a tray covered with parchment paper.
- frozen posset domes
- frozen jelly domes
- whipped cream
- candied grapefruit peel
The posset domes thaw quickly so lay them over the tart first. Pop six posset domes from the silicone mold and gently set onto the tart. Next, arrange six jelly domes over the tart.
Transfer some whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe dollops of whipped cream over the tart to fill in some of the empty spaces.
Drain several pieces of candied grapefruit peel and pat off the excess syrup with a paper towel. Use a paring knife to trim off the excess pith and arrange over the tart.
Place in the fridge to allow the jelly and posset to thaw fully before serving.