I have been in pie eating mode lately but none were baked by me, actually from the store, because I did not have a kitchen for 2 weeks. But good news the kitchen is done and I’ll post about that experience soon! I had just bought also about a month ago a tart pan with a removable bottom (for like $8 !!! on liquidation) which I had yet to baptize. I know shame on me. So when I saw this month’s challenge, and Italian pie called a Crostata, I was very excited. I knew exactly what I would put in it but will keep you in suspense for just a bit.
The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona from 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 fabulous recipe used to make pie crusts or shortbread-like cookies. It is a sweet and rich crust which I find makes it perfect for a tart filling, hence it often being used with marmalade like it was suggested in the challenge. This is not your boring pie crust. I think one of the reasons I don’t make pies a lot is because I usually care more for the filling. Not the case with the pasta frolla. Here is the recipe I used but click here if you want to see various versions.
- 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
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
- Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
- 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.
- Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs and vanilla into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on).
- Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
- Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
- Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap it. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Now for the filling! I decided to go with something we did in a past challenge: my citrus preserves from the September Daring Cooks challenge. This preserve is low in sugar and high in rind so I knew it would be perfectly extra tart as I wanted it to be. Now since my preserve was made up of large pieces I just threw it in the blend to break it up into a jam consistency. 1 cup and 3/4 is required according to the given recipe.
Now I also added some shredded coconut. This coconut was actually left over from another recipe I did that day. My friend Faith over at An Edible Mosaic recently posted a recipe on how to make homemade coconut milk. I got around to making it today and by the end of it you have plenty of leftover coconut. Go to her blog for the recipe. It was quite an experience to make my coconut milk. It can get messy but definitely worth trying it once. I got over a liter of milk with a nice head of coconut cream that I can use in other recipes.
So in the bottom of the pan I put my shredded coconut and I gently spooned over my marmalade so it would cover the coconut. I found there was not enough filling for my crust…happy I added the coconut, I would go with 3 cups of filling personally. Now before I tell you how to assemble it let me tell you this dough breaks easy…do the plastic wrap suggestion. DO NOT use the parchment paper, I did that and it stuck.
Assembling and baking the crostata:
- Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].
- 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.
- 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.
- Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
- 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.
- Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
- Flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.
- 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.
- Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
- Spread the jam or fruit preserves evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
- 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; or roll with your hands into ropes.
- Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes.
- Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs.
- Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the tart is of a nice golden hue.
- 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.
Oh my the smell wafting in the air as this crostata came out of the oven was to die for. It is very hard to wait for it to cool down before attacking it. But I managed to control myself and was rewarded with a perfect slice of crostata that I enjoyed with a glass of coconut milk.
Very nice job! I really like the decoration. The caption of your last photo made me smile 🙂
I love how your paired citrus and coconut for your crostata and I especially love the palm tree decor! I’m suddenly trasported to the tropics!! OH, also, couldn’t agree more about the pasta frolla, sexy indeed! Amazing work, Ev, and congrats on the completion of your brand new kitchen!
I haven’t baptized my madeleine pan yet…so you’re definitely ahead of the curve ;o)
Thrilled to read about the kitchen being finished…hope it’s to your liking.
Now, that beautiful tart…how great would that have been in a pastry box to bring to our date. LOL You seemed to have done a very fine pastry my dear…and the trees were certainly a touch of Evelyne ;o))
Ciao for now,
Your crostata looks wonderful!
This sounds amazing… and I love your little palm tree cut outs!
Beautiful crostata! I love your filling with the addition of coconut! And congrats on your kitchen being done!
Fantastic choice of filling!!! I would love nothing more than a big fat slice with a glass of coconut milk (with a splash of rum in too, perhaps?)
Adore your little coconut tree decorations and the crust does look sexy can imagine how great it smelled coming out of your oven.
Yay for the kitchen.. It must have been a pain! The good news is that you’ll be able to share with us more of your great recipes! 🙂
I love conconut milk.. and the tart looks fantastic! Great job.
Have a great week a head.
Interesting combination, coconut and citrus. Love the cut outs on top of your crostata, good job!
Homemade coconut milk- how impressive… It looks tart and tasty!
Sounds heavenly! Nice job on the challenge!
I am not part of the daring bakers group but I made pasta frolla because this is the one that I find the most reliable for a tart crust; I love your idea of combining citrus preserves (I am gonna have to check out this recipe!) and coconut! Yummy and the palm cutouts are so fun! now all we need is a dancing hawaiian dancer in the middle of the tart! (no kidding they sell those dolls in plastic in the streets of Beirut, they come with a battery!)
That is one gorgeous crostata. Love the recipe, and photos as well. The little cut-out designs are so adorable. Very impressive coconut milk, the way you made it I would not know how to start.
Thanks for sharing!
Great job! I agree, the pasta frolla is one fine dough! Love your citrus filling, but I’m especially impressed that you made your own coconut milk! I wouldn’t even know where to find a coconut in Montreal…
Evelyne, Wonderful looking crostata you made! Love your cookie cutter shapes -so tropical. I just love being part of this group! Great job….
What a great looking crostata! I love coconut and have been on a bit of a fresh coconut binge too, so this pie sounds amazing. I have only one jar of my orange marmalade left from that challenge, and I am hoarding it until the Seville oranges return. Great palm trees.
Guys, I am so out of it…I did not even catch on about the coconut and palm tree shapes…duh! They were the cookie cutters I bought for the sure cookies challenge. I guess it was meant to be.
Thanks for your great comments!
What a delicious combination and I love the decoration on top! The crust is fabulous isn’t it?!
What a great use of the preserves from earlier in the year, and the addition of the coconut sounds like perfection. I love the palm trees on top, too – not only do they match the coconut, but they make the whole crostata look so summery, tropical and festive!! Awesome job. And YAY on having your kitchen back!!! 🙂
Evelyne it’s absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! I love the shapes you made in the pastry!
I love your little shape designs! What a delicious crostata…they used to be one of my favourites…pecan flavoured:)
Citrus and coconut is such a holiday combination, and your cute coconut tree topping is the perfect flourish!
Award. For you. Here:
Your home made shredded coconut with jam sounds so delicious and it looks so fabulous with those coconut tree decorations well done and yes the crust is really special. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.