It is that time of the month again; here is the next Daring Bakers challenge.
The November 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simone 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 Science in the Kitchen and Art of Eating Well.
A crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, and a form of pie. It is traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the jam/marmalade filling, creating a more “rough” look, rather than a uniform, circular shape. The jams that are traditionally used as a filling are cherries, peaches, apricots, berries. The crostata can also be filled with pieces of fresh fruit and pastry cream (crema pasticcera), but then it is called torta di frutta. A typical central Italian variety replaces jam with ricotta mixed with sugar, cocoa or pieces of chocolate and anisetta; this is called crostata di ricotta.
The base of a crostata is past frolla, a sweet short crust pastry, made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frolla is versatile and you can put almost anything you want in it.
I was craving cranberries and remembered that caramel sauce I did for the Salted Caramel Brownies, so I decided to make cranberries with caramel sauce.
The tartness of the cranberries with the caramel sauce and the delicious crust was awesome. I had to give the pie away to my neighbors right away or I would have eaten the whole thing.
Cranberry and Caramel Walnut Crostata
Yields: One 9 inch tart | Prep time: 30 minutes | Cool Time: 2 hours | Cook Time: 30 minute
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cool Time: 2 hours
½ cup minus 1 tbsp of superfine sugar ( you can use caster sugar or make your own by putting some regular granulated sugar in a food processor and letting it run until it is finely ground)
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
Pinch of alt
Grated zest of a half a lemon
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Empty food processor’s bowl onto your work surface.
Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it. 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 in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.
For the Filling
Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt
1 ½ cup of fresh cranberries
1 cup toasted walnut
Turn the oven to 350F and toast the walnuts for 10 minute. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
In a sauté pan, heat the sugar over medium heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt, this takes about 5-8 minutes. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, that is ok just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. Remove the pan from the heat and very slowly pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce. (If your sauce is very lumpy and hard something went wrong.) When the bubbling stops, return the pan to a lower heat and stir well with a whisk to dissolve any caramel clumps. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the cranberries and walnut and stir to combine. Set aside.
Assembling the dough and the filling
Heat the oven to 375F.
Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it. 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 help when transferring the dough to your pan.
Lightly dust the top of the dough. 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 1/8” thick. If you used plastic warp flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thinness all the way around.
Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
Pour the cranberry, caramel, walnuts mixture into the pie shell and bake the crostata until the cranberries have popped and the mixture is bubbling, and crust is golden, about 30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Remove the sides of the pan and slide the crostata on to a serving plate. Make sure the crostata is completely cool before slicing and serving.
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