Friday, November 26, 2010


And I am back...

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.

Thank you for a wonderful challenge, Simona! It's been a while since my last BD challenge and crostata fit the bill -- how can you go wrong with a lemony flaky crust and some delicious filling? By over thinking it... I spent a long time wondering what to use as a filling -- apples? sweet potatoes? pumpkin? cranberries? Until it was the night before Thanksgiving and I needed to bring a desert. After hours of research, I decided to go with caramelized pumpkin. The crust was by far my favorite part of my crostata-- lemony, flaky, utterly delicious. The filling fell somewhat short -- it was too sweet and I tried to correct it by adding lemon juice and zest, quite bland and pumpkin pie spices went in. As some point I was close to giving up and swinging by the store to pick a dessert but somehow, after cooling, the flavor somehow blended wonderfully. I will not be using the pumpkin recipe again, will some more worth while filling.

Pasta Frolla


•1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) 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 (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)

•1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Note 1: 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.

Note 2: There are different ways of making vanilla sugar. I keep vanilla beans in a jar half-filled with sugar until I need to use them, for example, to make vanilla ice cream. After I remove the split bean from the custard that will go into the ice cream maker, I rinse it, dry it and put it back in the jar with sugar.

Making pasta frolla by hand:

1.Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.

2.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.

3.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).

4.Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.

5.Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

6.Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.

7.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.


  1. WOW that tart looks so professional I just love the leaves they are so beautiful well done and wonderful to hear that the pastry worked out so well. And about the filling well that can be changed. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. It's amazing how sometimes waiting a little time can make a great difference. I am glad you did not follow your first impulse. The crostata you made looks very elegant. Good luck with your next attempt: I hope you will be happy with the next filling you try.

  3. Well it certainly looks gorgeous, sometimes things just work themselves out!

  4. So, here is the pumpkin ;) It's very elegant Crostata and I like the way you decorate it , but I really don't like pumpkins taste.

  5. Your crostata looks beautiful, I love the leaves! I'm sure you could try it again with another filling, I loved the pastry as well.

  6. Love the decoration! I've been eyeing the pie crust cutters at my nearby baking store -- they look so fun. I also was debating between pumpkin and sweet potato, but I knew my family preferred sweet potatoes. Nice job!

  7. What a beautiful crostata, you did such a wonderful job!