Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: 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.

Pasta frolla is a delicious shortbread crust that is easy to make, either by hand or with a food processor. The flavor complements any filling that you use. Typically, the filling is either jam or pastry cream.

Because I was serving this for Thanksgiving, I chose something a bit different, a filling of ricotta cheese and chocolate. It has an intense chocolate flavor with a texture like a brownie or flourless cake. Most delicious.

I've included the recipes for the crust and the filling. For more great creations, stop by the Daring Kitchen to see what the other bakers did.

Pasta Frolla

  • 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.
When ready to use, roll out the dough to fit a 9" tart pan, saving the trimmings for decoration. Blind bake before adding the filling.

Ricotta-chocolate filling
(adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg yolks

Combine the 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool the sugar syrup slightly.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over very softly simmering water.

Pulse the ricotta cheese and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add the egg and egg yolks, 1 at a time, and process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and process until combined. With the machine running, add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream and process until smooth.

Pour the custard into the tart shell and bake at 350 degrees F. until the filling is almost set, about 30-40 minutes.


Unknown said...

It looks lovely! That is interesting that you got a brownie-like filling. Mmm, a flourless ricotta brownie? Sign me up! I see your pumpkin gorgonzola flan below--I have all the ingredients but have been a terrible FFwD slacker. Will take your advice and use more cheese when I get around to it.

Anonymous said...

Very festive looking and you can never go wrong with chocolate. Great job

Cakelaw said...

This looks spectacular Judy with its autumn leaves against a rich chocolate backgroumd. Hope you had a wonderful thnaksgiving.

Audax said...

I just love it those leaves are to die for and the flavouring of the filling sounds delicious well done on this challenge.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful! I am sure everyone around the Thanksgiving table loved it.