Pink Grapefruit Cream Pie

pink grapefruit pie recipe cream creamy

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Died and gone to heaven?  I believe I have.  Pink Grapefruit Cream Pie.  Perhaps my most experimental undertaking yet.  At least in the area of baking.  A unexpected ingredient…no, you’ll never guess.

I attempted to take a nap today while the kids were napping.  Laying down for about 10 minutes and just starting to lull off into a snooze, I had a thought come from out of nowhere:  “Key lime pie…how about pink grapefruit pie?”  I know, I’m a hopeless case.  I think about food even when I’m not thinking about food ;)   So this thought entered my mind.  And got stuck there.  I started getting excited about the prospect of a cold, creamy, sweet and tangy grapefruit pie with whipped cream.  And after my success with the Pink Grapefruit Buttermilk Muffins, I was doubly excited to make something else with this highly fresh-a-licious, yet underutilized, fruit.

Let me explain why this undertaking was so challenging and experimental.  Grapefruit has a much lower acidity content than lemon and lime juices, and so it’s chemical properties react differently in baking…it doesn’t set.  Instead of nicely set custard, you get a heaping mess of liquid.  And this, ladies and gentleman, is where the experiment comes in.  How to get the filling to set without adding a bunch of nasty cornstarch.  Can you guess what I did?

Now, I will admit.  I failed before I succeeded.  I ended up with that heaping mess of liquid the first attempt.  That’s when it occurred to me that grapefruit juice can’t be substituted for lemon or lime juice in baking – because of the low acidity level dilemma.  So it was back to square one.  I was determined to make this work.  Determined!   I love grapefruit and the thought of eating some cool, creamy grapefruit pie made with fresh grapefruit juice and zest was…intoxicating!  I HAD to have it!  It HAD to work!  It WOULD work!

And so I asked myself, “If low acidity is what’s keeping it from firming up and setting, how do I increase the acidity?”  I refused to [cheat] and resort to using heaping spoonfuls of nasty cornstarch.

BINGO!  The inspiration came:  VITAMIN C!!!  Vitamin C is simply ascorbic acid, and that’s what’s in citrus fruit.  I grabbed a bottle of vitamin C and put a few in a baggie, pounded them to a powder, and added it to the filling (FYI, you can find vitamin C already in powder form).  I didn’t know how much ascorbic acid was needed to bring the grapefruit juice to the right acidity level, so I just took a guess.  I used six 500mg tablets for a total of 3000mg, or 3 grams.  I whisked it in the filling and popped it in the oven for a second attempt.  I waited.  And waited.  Pacing the kitchen floor.  Frequently peering into the oven to see what was happening.  I baked it for close to 25 minutes and took it out…

IT WAS SET!!  And it was still a little jiggly!  Perfect!  I was giddy with excitement.  I honestly couldn’t believe the experiment actually worked!

I was so excited to try this creation out.  I called my parents and invited them over for dessert (it’s SO nice to have parents nearby.  Not just because of the kids, but because they’re convenient guinea pigs for my cooking ;)

We all sat down together with our slices of pie, dessert forks in hand, and took a bite.  Oh.  My.  Gawsh.  Everyone loved it.

So here it is, folks.  Sweet, tangy, creamy, delicious…and Vitamin C Enriched!  (Does that constitute a “healthy” dessert? ;)

I never did get to that nap but, despite sleep deprivation after a night of frequent baby-waking, it was well worth it.

Alright, everybody, come this way and let’s get to bakin’ that amazing Pink Grapefruit Cream Pie!

For the graham cracker crust you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers, which comes out to one package.

Grapefruit Cream Pie

You can use a food processor or just put it in a baggie and pound it, which is what I did this time.  You’ll need the baggie anyway later to crush the vitamin C :)

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 2

1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 3

Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter.
Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 4

Stir to thoroughly combine.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 5

Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie dish.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 6

Press the crumbs firmly inside the pie dish and up the sides.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 7

Bake at 375 F for 7-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 8

Zest the grapefruit and juice it.  You can either use a hand zester, which yields longer strands and then chop them with a knife, or use the smallest holes on a standing grater, which yields more finely grated zest.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 9

Whisk the egg yolks and add all the other ingredients.  Whisk until everything is incorporated and no lumps of sour cream are left.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 10

Crush 3000mg of vitamin C to a fine powder (I used a baggie and the smooth side of a meat tenderizer).

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 13

Whisk the vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) into the mixture.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 11

Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until set but still a little jiggly.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 12

Let the pie cool completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until chilled.  Decorate as desired, or serve as is with whipped cream.

Grapefruit Cream Pie prep 14Grapefruit Cream Pie 1 smGrapefruit Cream Pie 3 sm final

Pink Grapefruit Cream Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
How about a grapefruit version of key lime pie? This Daring Gourmet original is sweet, tangy, creamy and utterly delicious!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
  • For the Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 individual package)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • For the Pie Filling:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon pink grapefruit zest
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 3000mg (3gm) vitamin C powder (either crush vitamin c tablets or use vitamin c already in powdered form)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter. Stir to combine. Press the crust mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, pressing along the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.
  4. For the pie filling: Whisk the egg yolks vigorously with a whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined and no lumps of sour cream are remaining. Pour the filling into the pie crust shell. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, or until set but still a little jiggly in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring the pie to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour before serving.


Grapefruit Cream Pie 2 sm

20 Responses

  1. Maria

    wrote on

    I keep thinking that i need to start loosing the baby weight but how can i do it when i keep wanting to make all your recipes? lol. i am so going to make this one!!!!it looks delicious!!!!!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Your taste buds will sing and dance – and that workout will burn off some of the calories! ;)

  2. Lorraine

    wrote on


    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thanks for the enthusiastic compliment, Lorraine!

  3. wrote on

    I had this same idea and was surprised to see any recipes for this at all online! Will be my next pie for sure! I live in FL and get delicious, juicy, sun-kissed grapefruits 5 for 2.00 or some 5 for 1.50 so I’ve had lots of fun experimenting and make grapefruit coconut oil for my baby’s skin and mine (plus it’s edible and safe)! Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Vanessa! Yes, you just had to throw that little fact in there to make me jealous, didn’t you? ;) My husband grew up in Arizona and I remember the first time I visited being absolutely amazed by the orange groves! The smell of fresh orange blossoms has got to be one the best scents in the world! And to be able to reach up and pick an orange…wow! They have yellow grapefruits in AZ, but I’ve never seen any pink ones. Pink grapefruits are one of my favorite things – you’re so lucky to be surrounded by them! Grapefruit coconut oil sounds absolutely divine!! I would actually love to have some of that for cooking/baking as well as for skin…grapefruit infused coconut oil…fabulous!

      P.S. The pie was very good! If you make it, let me know what you think!

  4. Anna

    wrote on

    I love the step by step and the pictures. Great recipe too. Thanks

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Thank you, Anna!

  5. Ms. Me

    wrote on

    What if I only have a 10-in pie pan?

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      No problem at all! The pie will just be slightly flatter.

  6. y

    wrote on

    have you ever thought of using CHIA seeds? they seem to thicken milk to yoghurt consistancy. . .?

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That’s a clever idea, I hadn’t thought of that and it might be worth experimenting with. Thank you!

  7. kelly

    wrote on

    This was soooo good! Made it tonight and my family loved it, even the 3 little kids!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That’s wonderful, Kelly, I’m so happy to hear that! My little ones devoured it as well and it’s become a family favorite. Thanks so much for your feedback!

  8. Ann Murray

    wrote on

    I am going to make this for our erst-annual Pink Party, usually held sometime in February, with a bunch of women friends, in Maine. Sounds like everyone’s efforts were successful. I love grapefruit flavored whatever! Is the vitamin C just unflavored tablets? No one used the chewable kind, just the basic? Just checking. Thanks, Ann

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Ann, that sounds like a fun party! Yes, I just used regular unflavored tablets but if it’s the chewable kind you already have on hand, those should be fine, too. Happy baking!

  9. wrote on

    does the grape fruit taste sour to taste, the one i have purchased is very sour to taste .

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi! Yes, grapefruits are typically quite tart. Pink grapefruits are more mild than yellow, but they’re still tart.

  10. Anonymous

    wrote on

    I made it last night and everything was great. Easy steps, but it needed sugar in the filling. Won’t make again. Very bland.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      “Everything was great” yet it was “very bland”? The only reason it would be “bland” with an entire 3/4 cup of fresh grapefruit juice is if you used flavorless grapefruits. And with TWO whole cans of sweetened condensed milk it needed sugar? I have a feeling you used condensed milk, not sweetened condensed milk which is the source of sugar and a big source of flavor.

Leave a Comment