le petit gâteau au pamplemousse (aka. the grapefruit muffin)

i tend to be a chocolate person.  i like my desserts, not so much sweet as intensely flavored.  however, after a weekend in LA living a la guy fieri on diners, drive-in and dives, i started inkling for something light and refreshing.   found a recipe for a creme fraiche based lemon loaf cake in ph’s book, and thought it would adapt rather nicely into grapefruit muffins. the resulting muffins are light, refreshing with just a hint of that aromatic grapefruit essence that i find so relaxing.

Le Petit Gâteau Au Pamplemousse
(adapted from Pierre Herme’s Lemon Loaf Cakes recipe; note: PH uses rum in his recipe as well as salt to control the rise of the cakes.  he also suggests glazing the cakes with a lemon marmelade glaze. he presents the syrup as an optional step for increased lemon intensity.)

For the Muffins:
Cake Flour 2 2/3 cups
Baking powder ¾ tsp
Grapefruit zest From 1 large grapefruit
Sugar 2 cups
Eggs 6 large ones
Crème Fraîche ¾ cup
Butter 1 stick melted
For the Grapefruit Syrup:
Water 1/3 cup
Sugar 3 tbsp
Grapefruit juice 4 tbsp
  1. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine sugar and lemon zest in a bowl.  Mix together (PH suggests using your hands) until aromatic.
  3. Add in eggs, and whisk together until pale and foamy.
  4. Then add creme fraiche.  Mix until incorporated.
  5. Gently stir in the flour in 3 to 4 additions, until you have a smooth and thick batter.
  6. Finally, fold in the butter until incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into regular sized muffin cups lined with a paper muffin cup.
  8. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Some of the muffins will have a nice split on top.
  9. While the muffins are baking, make the syrup by combining sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Boil the syrup until the sugar has dissolved.  When the syrup cools, add in the grapefruit juice.
  10. When the muffins are baked, place them on a rack and liberally brush on the syrup.
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