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.
For this challenge I decided to use what I had on hand for my crostata which was homemade strawberry jam and frozen mixed berries to make Crostata di Frutti di Bosco Misti. Using the weight measurements I made the Pasta Frolla recipe supplied by our host, Simona.
Crostata di Frutti di Bosco Misti
•1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine 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
•1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
•1 cup strawberry jam
•500g mixed frozen berries, thawed and drain well on paper towels
1.Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
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 used the food processor for this process.
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).
4.Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
5.Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
6.Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
7.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.
Assembling and baking the crostata
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.
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.
10.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.
11.Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
….and top with berries.
12.Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes.
13.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.
14.Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
15.After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking, if necessary, until the tart is of a nice golden hue.
16.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.
Hazelnut Nutella Crostata
I also prepared a Hazelnut Nutella crostata by substituting 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 hazelnut meal in the pasta frolla and using as much Nutella as I needed to fill the crostata ( about 1 1/2 cups). For the first 15 minutes of baking I covered the crostata with foil to prevent the nutella from drying out too much.
This was delicious and rich. My son was thrilled to come home from school to find this very special crostata made just for him!
Both crostatas were tasty and though I enjoyed the fresh, fruity filling of Crostata di Frutti di Bosco Misti, the added hazelnut meal in the crust of the Hazelnut Nutella Crostata proved equally delicious.