As I’ve started getting into food blogs of all sorts over the past year or so, I’ve been amazed by all the community blog activities that go on, both in-person, such as local get-togethers and long-distance meet ups, and virtually, via chats over Twitter and blog groups. Some of these are ad hoc, like the group that Evan, Julie, and Heather threw together for the Macaron Monday challenge. Others, like Tuesdays with Dorie, are regular occurrences. One such group that posts on a regular schedule is The Daring Bakers, which is sponsored by The Daring Kitchen. I was accepted into the super-secret society for November, which means that on November 1, I was able to access the details of the challenge, and had until today to contemplate my approach, craft my creation, and draft my post before the reveal date, which is: today. See my completed product, a slice of vanilla-lavender scented white chocolate crostata.
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. If you are interested, she has made a .pdf file with the details of the challenge and the crostata recipe available here.
Pasta Frolla Ingredients
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Grated zest of half a lemon
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
When I read “cold,” my brain translated that into “frozen,” so I began by cutting the butter into small pieces and freezing it.
I got out one of my favorite things, my food processor, and briefly pulsed together the sugar, flour, and salt before adding the cold butter one chunk at a time, and watched this fine meal form in the bowl.
I then removed the meal from the food processor, placed it in a pile on my counter, and made a well in the middle for the egg and egg yolk mixture.
It was then time to mix this together with a fork. I wondered why Simone didn’t have us simply mix the egg in through the food processor, and I have ascertained that the reason was so that we would make our kitchen counters look like a dough murder scene.I gathered up the dough, shaped it into a flat disc, wrapped it, and refrigerated it for two hours.
When it was time to put the chilled dough in the 9 1/2” tart pan, I used the technique that I learned from my seminar with Nick Malgieri last month. I broke off 1/3 of the dough and set it aside, and pressed the remaining 2/3 into the bottom of the floured tart pan. I then divided the dough that I had set aside into three equally-sized strips.
It was then time to finish prepping the dough in the tart pan by pressing these along the edges of the tart pan such that the edges were fully covered.
I decided to blind-bake the tart, so I poked the bottom with a fork a few times.
Then I put some parchment paper on top of the dough, and weighted it down with dried garbanzo beans before baking it at 375° F for 10 minutes, and then baking it for another 10 minutes with the beans and parchment paper removed.I found myself with a crust substantial enough to support something nice and creamy.
This was fortunate, because I was planning on using the vanilla-lavender scented white chocolate custard that I posted about earlier this month.I used about 2/3 of the prepared custard (2 cups of liquid) in the crostata, and then baked the filled tart for 35 more minutes.
Now that looks nice, but I wasn’t quite done. For the stand-alone custard post, I used purple-tinted powdered sugar for decoration, but for the crostata, I did something a little more elaborate. I started with some plain paper, and then cut out a little freehand design that I thought looked nifty.I used this as a guide for both purple and uncolored powdered sugar to complete the crostata.
I took this to a meet where I was coaching, and my fellow coaches had no difficulties finishing it off. Thanks, Simone!