Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daring Bakers November 2010 Challenge: Crostata

It’s that time of the month again. 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 (a sweet short crust pastry) is versatile: it provides the base to make crostata with fruit preserves, pastry cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, and other ingredients, and, by itself, it makes very nice cookies.

Mandatory Items: You must make the pasta frolla using either one of the recipes (Version 1* or Version 2) that I have provided and use it as the base layer for a crostata.

*TWSF used Version 1

Crostata di Marmellata (crostata with a jam filling using Version 1 pasta frolla)

For the Pasta frolla

1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon superfine* sugar
1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) 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

*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.

Making pasta frolla by hand (TWSF does not own a food processor)::
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.

For the filling

Raspberry Jam (we made our own using a recipe from Joy of Baking)
Mix of frozen berries, thawed and drained

Assembling and baking the crostata di marmellata:

1. Heat the oven to 375ºF.

2. 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.

3. Lightly dust your working surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch thick.

4. Flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered.

5. Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan.

6. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.

7. 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 (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.

8. Spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crostata. Top with mixed berries.

9. Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes.

10. Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid.

14. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

15. After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue.

16. 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.


  1. WOW that crostata looks so perfect and the jam looks so delicious. Wonderful work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. I like raspberry jam, so I totally support your choice of filling. Nice job!