Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crostata! - November '10 Daring Bakers

The last quarter of the year is always the busiest for me. My eldest celebrates his birthday in October, mine's in November and my husband's birthday is in December. So, please forgive me if my blogs has slowed down quite a bit. Aside from the birthdays making me busy, it's the holiday season, too.

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.

I did my best to squeeze in this month's baking challenge by making it for Thanksgiving. We went to my in-laws' house for the get-together. It was a challenge trying to bake in Mom's busy kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. It was a rush and I didn't get to take a lot of pictures.


Crostata...sounds intimidating. But at the same time, sounds delicious, too, right? Anyway, it's basically Italian tarts. A quick Google search, and I found that it's traditionally made without the tart tin and can be filled with anything you like.



I decided beforehand that I'd fill it with apples. Mom and Dad have an abundant supply from their backyard. I thought I had everything set but then I found out I didn't have any lemons for the lemon zest called for in the recipe. I just went with the orange that I had. I went online for an apple filling recipe and found Ina Garten's recipe for Apple Crostata. I started out trying to make the Pasta Frolla using a food processor but it turned out that doing it by hand using a pastry cutter was better.

TOOLS I USED:


PASTA FROLLA

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon  superfine sugar (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.)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (frozen), cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Directions:

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 the pastry cutter.

 


    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).

    Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture. (I used orange zest)

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

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

    Dough don't look too good because of a food processor mishap.

    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.

    APPLE FILLING & ASSEMBLY
    Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

    Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large)
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
    Directions:


    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    Flour a rolling pin and roll the pasta folla into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured baking mat or parchment paper. Transfer it to a baking sheet.

    Peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest.

    Cover the rolled out pasta frolla with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

    Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

    Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.

    Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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