Saturday, November 27, 2010

DB Challenge: Crostata



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.

We were given the options of how we filled the crust. I decided to go with a pistachio frangipane and cranberries. The green and red are perfect for the holiday season. The only change I would make would be to add a lot more cranberries or fruit. This would be really good with apricots or tart apples as well.

I first got interested in frangipane because there is often a pistachio frangipane tart with raspberries served at the Tower Cafe. Frangipane can be made with other nuts as well, like almonds or hazelnuts.

Crust (Pasta Frolla)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note) 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
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Note: 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.

  1. Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.
  3. Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface.
  4. 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).
  5. Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
  6. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
  7. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
  8. 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.


Pistachio Frangipane (double the recipe for this size tart)


1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shelled natural unsalted pistachios (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

Process 1/2 cup pistachios, 1/4 cup sugar, orange peel, and baking powder in processor until nuts are finely ground, scraping down sides occasionally. Add butter and egg; process until blended.


Assembly

  1. Heat the oven to 350ºF. 
  2. Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to make a lattice top for the crostata if you like. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base. (I just made a small jam tart for myself.)
  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. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rechill.
  11. After it has chilled, remove the crust and fill it with the frangipane. Top it with fruit of choice. Pistachio works well with tart fruits like apricots, tart apples, and cranberries.
  12. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. You want to be able to pull a toothpick out clean.
  13. 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. Top with a bit of whipped cream or creme fraiche.


Pistachio

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