Rye Crust (from The Lee Brothers Charleston Kitchen)
(makes enough for a 9” double crust pie; you will only need one single crust)
⅔ cup rye flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 sticks (8 oz.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼” pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons ice cold water
egg wash made from 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon water, beaten lightly with a fork
In a large bowl, whisk together the rye flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar. Add the cold butter pieces, gently rubbing the butter and the dry ingredients together until it forms coarse meal with a few large butter pieces. Drizzle the vanilla extract over the dough, then add the ice cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, using a fork or your fingertips to combine. Continue adding the ice water until the mixture becomes sticky and begins to form a cohesive dough. Divide the dough in half, shape into two discs, flatten them slightly, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before rolling out. Roll out one circle of dough (save the other one for another time) on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper into a 12” circle. Gently ease the circle of dough into a 9” pie plate, turn the edges under and crimp decoratively. Prick the bottom of the piecrust with a fork. Refrigerate the piecrust and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the chilled piecrust with aluminum foil or parchment paper and pie weights or beans. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, remove from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and carefully remove the foil (or parchment) and beans. Brush the pie with the egg wash. Return the piecrust to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the piecrust feels dry on the bottom. Set on a rack to cool while you prepare the filling.
Grapefruit Chess Pie filling (adapted from The Lee Brothers Charleston Kitchen and Southern Living)
2 large Ruby Red grapefruit, washed and dried
1 teaspoon of grapefruit zest (from one grapefruit)
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar (feel free to shave off 1 tablespoon of sugar if you prefer less sweetness and more tartness)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fine yellow cornmeal
Slice off the top and bottom of each grapefruit. Place 1 grapefruit on a cutting board (stand it on its end so it is stable) and use a knife to remove the peel and the white pith, following the curve of the fruit. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, use a small, sharp knife to slice along each segment of fruit, (two sides to each segment) carefully releasing the pulp. Place the segments in a strainer set over the medium bowl. You should have 1 generous cup of grapefruit segments. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with two thicknesses of paper towels and blot them dry. (This helps eliminate excess liquid in the filling.) Take the cores of the grapefruit and squeeze them over the bowl, capturing the juice. Strain the juice; you will need ⅓ cup of juice. Add the zest and salt to the grapefruit juice.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the yolks and whites until light in color. With mixer on low, add the cream and melted butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cornmeal. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, whisking well. Add the second third of the mixture, whisking well, and then the remainder of the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the grapefruit juice mixture, stirring until well combined.
Make sure the oven is preheated to 350 degrees F. Retrieve the baking sheet with the piecrust and the baking sheet with the grapefruit segments. Carefully place the segments in the bottom of the pie shell. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the segments; some will float to the top. Place the pie on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, just until the edges are set and the filling jiggles ever so slightly. Cool on a rack before serving.