The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.
This is my very first bakers' challenge. I absolutely love to cook and to bake. I heard about The Daring Kitchen blog and challenges and headed over to sign up!
I learned a few things......I make a mess in the kitchen when making dough.......and......I am a terrible food photographer...................so bear with me and watch me learn and grow through this monthly baking process.....
I used the pasta frolla Version 1 recipe below:
bowls, as needed
bench (or pastry) scraper
9 or 9.5-inch [23-24 cm] fluted round tart pan with removable bottom, (I didn't have this so I improvised....note to self: add this to Christmas List) about 1 inch [2.5 cm] high. (Note: If you don't have a tart pan with a removable bottom, don’t worry! You can make crostata using a 9-inch cake pan or even a 9-inch pie plate. See the Additional Information section for information on using different pans.
a food processor is useful, but not required
Version 1 of pasta frolla
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Note 1: Superfine sugar is often also referred to as ultrafine, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. It’s available in most supermarkets. If you cannot find “superfine” sugar, you can make your own by putting some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and letting it run until the sugar is finely ground.
Note 2: There are different ways of making vanilla sugar. I keep vanilla beans in a jar half-filled with sugar until I need to use them, for example, to make vanilla ice cream. After I remove the split bean from the custard that will go into the ice cream maker, I rinse it, dry it and put it back in the jar with sugar.
Making pasta frolla by hand: (I did this)
Step 1: Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
Step 2: Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.
( I grated the butter and stuck it in the freezer...it makes it much easier to cut in)
Step 3: Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).
Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
Step 4: Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.
Making pasta frolla with a food processor:
Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.
Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface
See step 3 above and continue as explained in the following steps (minus the lemon zest, which you have already added).
While the dough was in the fridge for 2 hours..................................I made this.
This Cranberry jelly was a recipe I found over at the Pioneer Woman Blog...Please tell me you've been there, she is amazing!! An amazing cook and photographer and mother and wife!!!!
So first, I should learn to read the title of the recipe.....like this one says "sauce" , not preserves or jelly......you'll see why this is important later....but the recipe....amazing....and I put the leftovers in popsicle makers in the freezer for fresh cranberry pops later!!!!
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Mixture will thicken as it cooks, and will thicken more as it cools.
Cool in a jar or bowl in the fridge. Serve with Thanksgiving turkey, ........or not.
After sauce was made and in the fridge....................It was back to the pasta frolla.........
Assembling and baking the crostata di marmellata: ( this is what they call the Crostata when you put preserves or jelly in it )
1) Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].
2) Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
3) To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
.....this did not work for me - the dough totally stuck to the plastic and I had to start all over!!...............
4) Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
5) If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.
6) Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
7) If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.
8) Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around.
9) Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
Take out of the fridge the reserved pasta frolla you had cut away earlier. Roll it with your pin and cut into strips or use cookie cutters to make small shapes (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.
Spread the jam or fruit preserves evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
....This is where my "sauce" was too runny........Crisis averted, I added Low Sugar Strawberry preserves into the sauce and filled the Crostata!!................It's like a triple berry delight......right??? Ugghhhhh...........
Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes. (Note: You can use dough scraps to make cookies: see the Additional Information section for some pointers)
Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid.
Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue. (Note: Every oven is different. In my oven it took 34 minutes to bake the tart until golden.)
When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving.
Not the most beautiful thing in the world, and because I didn't have a tart pan with a removable bottom and the filling was a bit "saucy", I couldn't slide it out of the pie pan.......So I stuck it in the fridge, the filling firmed up, and I served it chilled...............It was actually pretty yummy!!
1) Bakers "challenge" is named that for a reason........It was definitely a challenge
2) The word "Sauce" most likely means it can be poured...If it can be poured, It will not substitute for a preserve or jelly....lesson learned.
3) Food photography is NOT easy.....all of you foodie bloggers out there....my hat goes off to you....you make it look easy....and it isn't....I will keep working and practicing....If you see random food photos on my blog..I apologize ahead of time!