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.
Ahem. I have a confession to make this month. I somehow didn’t read the recipe properly because I was so excited to see we were making a crostata, I kinda sorta forgot about the whole “pasta frolla” part. Ahem. Pasta frolla is a short crust pastry where egg yolks, not iced water, are used to bind the pastry. Right well, that will have to be for another time because I made a regular shortcrust pastry, using a Dorie Greenspan recipe with breakfast pastries in mind – the more rustic version of crostata. It is usually prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of a preserves or marmalade filling, which gives it a more “rough” look. If you search Google Images for crostata, you will see two types – lovely uniform round ones filled with preserves and topped with pretty strips of pastry. And more rustic ones like, ahem, mine.
Since I have been consumed by baking lately (out damned pumpkin, I say! You will see what I mean in tomorrow’s post, Project Food Blog Challenge 8: Baking with pumpkin), again, I employed my Maths for Baking skills and whittled the recipe down to make two tiny pastries for last Sunday’s breakfast, inspired by some mini-crostatas I had seen whilst searching for the pastry recipe. I was dubious about them but they were perfect – just like something you would get in a bakery. I filled them with apples and cranberries since that is what we had on hand and the flavours were spot on.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water
4 apples, peeled and cored
8 tablespoons dried cranberries
(for egg wash) 2 eggs
(to coat crostatas) about 1/4 cup sugar (I used raw sugar because I like the look of the big crystals)
Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients.
Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing — what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley.
Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water — add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened of form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.
Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour (up to overnight) before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.)
To roll out the dough:
You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper. If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, make sure to turn the dough over often and to lift the paper, plastic or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.
To make the crostatas:
Once the dough is chilled, remove from the fridge, cut into eight even pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle, about 15cm in diameter. Place 4-6 apple wedges and 1tbsp cranberries in centre of the dough circles and fold the dough around the fruit, ‘gluing’ together with egg wash. Once crostatas are complete, place in the fridge to chill on waxed paper for between 20 minutes and one hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread crostatas out on baking sheets and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar, inside and outside the crostata. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the dough has puffed and is golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Even though I didn’t make the pasta frolla, I am still pretty happy with this challenge. Pastry and I are not typically friends so the fact that this came out was reason enough for a happy dance in my kitchen! Must be the Dorie pastry recipe – hers never seem to let me down!
Yes, I am thrilled to announce I have made it to Round 8 of Project Food Blog. I am one of 24 people left from an original 600 contestants. Thank you all for reading and voting (and watching my video!) – my next post (getting creative with baked goods featuring pumpkin) will be up on Sunday.