Making my own pastry has always been a very satisfying process. Frozen puff pastry being that easily unavailable further adds to the process. Now why am I talking pastry doughs? It is because today is when the Daring bakers worldwide post this month's challenge. And this month, the hostess Simona from Briciole invited us to make Crostata, an italian dessert. A crostata is a baked tart. Usually, it is made by folding the edges of the dough over the sides and top of the filling or rather free form and not in a tart pan giving it a more rough look. In Simona's words, The base of a crostata is pasta frolla (or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frolla 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.
I made two versions. One was using a tart pan and the other were the free form ones typical of a crostata. We were given 2 versions of the pasta frolla. The recipe that I have here is of the version I used + the recipe for the fillings. For the entir recipe, visit Simona's space.
What you see above is an Onion, Bacon and Mushroom Tart. And how I made it is:
For the Pasta Frolla (for a 9" pie plate, sufficient enough for a 5" pie plate and two free form crostatas)
2 T Powdered Sugar
1 + 3/4 C AP Flour
pinch of salt
8T Cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
Lemon Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 egg+1 egg yolk (lightly beaten)
I used a food processor. So pulse sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest a few times to mix. Add butter to make a coarse meal. Transfer to a flat surface and make a well in the center. Add the beaten eggs and knead lightly until it all comes together. Shape into a disk and cwrap with a cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours. WHile it rested there, I made my fillings, both the savoury and the sweet.
For the filling
50 g Butter
3 Onions, chopped
100 g Bacon, rinded and chopped
100 ml Sour Cream
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
seasoning as per choice
Melt butter in a pan, and fry the bacons, onion snad the mushrooms until sfot but not browned. Remove and stir in the remaining filling ingredients.
meanwhile, remove the refrigerated dough and roll into the required size of the tart tine. Blind bake for 5 minutes . Remove, add the fillings and smoothen the top. Bake until golden brown in an oven at 180 degree C for 20 mins.
Baked to a lovely golden brown, this tart made a super yummy meal. Served hot, warm or cold, the taste isn't compromised either way. A perfect surprise for the hungry family members at tea.
Coming to the the authentic way of making a crostata ie free form, I used sweet fillings to further surprise the family for after dinner dessert. Surprised and hearty they were.
What you need for the filling are:
1 large red pear, skinned and chopped into small piecesToss the above three in a bowl and tarsnsfer to the dough. Fold the edges of the dough up along the sides and over the fillings and bake for 15 minutes.
1/2 C of vanilla sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T of butter
Tastes best when served warm. Make superb desserts. Impresses anyone at the first bite. Until now, apples and cinnamon and the treacle one had won me over but not now. For now, these stand as the most impressive in all aspects with the flavour, rustic look and all.
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.