Saturday, 27 November 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2010: Crostata

Gosh, I am so glad that I joined the Daring Bakers because I am really enjoying myself month after month. This month was no exception.

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.

After two initial days of surfing the net, nail-biting, surfing the net again, sleepless nights - ok ok, I'm exaggerating ( I love my sleep - especially in this sudden freezing weather!) - I decided I would bake the crostata using version 1 of the pasta frolla (both versions can be found by clicking the link below).

With great hints and tips given by the ever-so-lovely Audax, I was confident enough about the pastry case. I absolutely love creme patisserie so any chance for me to use it I would! And then, like I wasn't chuffed with my plan as it is, I found this design (didnt use the recipe though) for an apple rossette on a pie. Well..... thats like a cherry on top!
 I was soo happy with coming up with that, I might as well not have actually baked it. Was totally exhausted by all that researching, could've done with someone making me a crostata! :-)

There's my baby daughter trying to run off with one of the apple just when I was getting ready to take a shot of the apples with the crostata! Guess it's keeping it real, lol.
Anyway, the pasta frolla dough is sufficient to line and cover a 23cm flan tin. Seeing that I wasn't covering the crostata and I really wanted to try out these figs that I had bought the day before, I decided to halve the dough and make two 20cm tin crostatas. One being my beautiful apple rosette crostata and the other being a fig frangipane crostata.

I got the recipe online at FoodLovers but had to cut down on the amounts. It looked gorgeous when it came out of the oven, the gorgeous almondy aroma is totally irresistable but even more then whenn combined with the pastry.

I didn't try the fig frangipane crostata, I rather saved it for a lovely brother-in-law who I knew would appreciate it. The apple rosette crostata with the creme patisserie filling on the other hand.....? Let's just say that I wasn't that willing to share ;-)

I'm so glad I got to try this out, the variations are countless and you can really play around with flavours or use your ultimate favourite. If you do try this out, make sure to check out Audax's tips, such as grating the butter and then freezing it before rubbing with the flour. Genius!!

Thank you Simona and a well done to all the other Daring Bakers xx

Pasta Frolla Version 1
• 100g caster sugar
• 235 g all-purpose flour
• a pinch of salt
• 115g 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
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.
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.
Pasta Frolla version 2
• 75 g caster sugar
• 65g all-purpose flour
• 65g whole-wheat pastry flour
• 28g almond flour, or almond meal, or coconut flour
• 28g whole-grain barley flour or all-purpose flour
• a pinch of salt
• 85g cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Whisk together sugar, flours and salt in a bowl.
2. Rub or cut the butter into the sugar and flour mixture until it 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 flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten egg and vanilla extract into it.
4. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into mixture and then use your fingertips.
5. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
6.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 Rosette design 

Creme Patisserie recipe (Makes about 1 cup) from Joy Of Baking
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/8 cup (20 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

  1. In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a wooden spoon. (Never let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a saucepan combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. (The milk will foam up to the top of pan when done, so watch carefully.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.)
  3. Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture.
  4. Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
Fig Frangipane filling (sourced from
125 g unsalted butter
125 g caster sugar
2 eggs
125 g ground almonds (almond meal)
1 tablespoon plain flour
5 ripe figs
Icing sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Line a 24 cm tart pan with the pasta frolla and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the almonds and flour.
  4. Spoon frangipane into the pastry shells. Slice figs cross ways and place them over the batter.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes until frangipane is golden and set.


  1. Both of your crostatas look delicious. I'm especially intrigued by the frangipane fig one!

  2. You made two versions I love them both and frngipane is my favourite superb work on this challenge. Great photos also.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. I can't decide what version of your crostatas I like the most! Both are amazing!!!
    I also love pastry cream so I did my crostata with pastry cream too!
    And I agree with you, month after month is getting even better!
    Congratulations for your challenge!

  4. Thanks so much for your comment! The crostata was a lot of fun to make.

    I have to say, though, that I love the idea of using figs for this dish. We picked up a bunch from the store recently, and they were so sweet and delicious. I hope your brother-in-law enjoyed it!

  5. Wow well done on the challenge , the crostata and the filling is awesome. Beautiful pictures.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment. I'm loving your apple rossette, such a gorgeous presentation idea! I'm definitely going to try out the fragipane recipe sometime soon. I used a similar almond filling in a crostata but found the honey in mine overpowered the lovely almondy taste. This version might be just right!

  7. Adriana - Thanks! I've heard the fig and frangipane went together perfectly!

    Audax - Thank you Audax, you're so sweet. I love frangipane too!

    Manu - I know what you mean! Both crostatas were so different in taste, so glad I could do both and not have to choose! Thank you for lovely comment.

    kcmorr - Thanks for the comment, brother-in-law loved it. Thought the crostata may come out too sweet but it was balanced just right.

    Pavithra - thank you for your lovely comment, love your blog!

    katbrown - I find the frangipane recipe I use has just the right amount of sweetness. Try it and let me know how it goes! Thank you for comment.

    Jaime - thank you for the sweet comment!

  8. Both crostate look very nice! I wouldn't know which one to choose, apples and figs being among my favorite fruit. I am glad to read you had fun with the challenge.