Saturday, November 27, 2010
Daring Bakers - Crostata - Crostata di Prugne e Fromage Blanc
Do you like to try new recipes, or do you prefer to stick to the tried and true? I remember one year in which nearly every dinner that I made was the same stir fry, with the only variation being the type of meat I put in it. I had just lost a fair bit of weight at the time, and I think I was scared that if I diverged from what I knew, I would pile it all back on.
Fast forward a few years, and I have put some of the weight back on, but certainly not all of it, and I eat way better now than I did before the weight loss. Having this blog and joining various groups and blog events has helped me to expand my culinary horizons, so that it is rare that I make the same thing twice.
This brings me to this month's Daring Bakers challenge.
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 had made a crostata before. For this reason, I wanted to make a different filling for my crostata this time around that was stll very Italian. In the notes for the challenge, Simona, our host, referred us to a couple of different crostatas that she had previously posted on her blog. After checking them out, I couldn't resist making Simona's Crostata Di Prugne e Fromage Blanc for this Daring Bakers Challenge.
This tart is comprised of the pasta frolla tart shell (the only compulsory component of this month's challenge), lined with Marsala-soaked sliced plums, then topped with a cream made of soft cheese - or in my case, as suggested as a substitute by Simona, Greek yoghurt. The cream is infused with the juices that the plums soaked in and flavoured with vanilla, and my Greek yoghurt was also vanilla bean flavoured for an extra vanilla-flavoured hit. As plums are not yet in season, I had to use tinned plums.
I really enjoyed this tart. It was sweet without being too sweet, and the yoghurt gave the filling an extra tang. The softly textured, juicy plums were blanketed by the smooth, velvety filling, giving a delightful contrast on the tongue. The pasta frolla tart shell was crisp and not overly sweet or buttery, making it more of a supporting vehicle for the filling than the star of the show. It is very different to Dorie Greenspan's Good for Almost Everything pie dough, which is rich and buttery. The smell wafting from the oven while the tart was baking was delightful - the tart gives off a subtly sweet, fruity perfume that makes it irresistible.
Making the pasta frolla is fairly easy. For the first time in ages, I made the dough totally by hand. Using the trick of grating the butter that I learned from Chocolatechic:
it did not take long to cut the butter into the flour. An egg mixture is then poured into a well in the middle of the flour crumbs and mixed in:
Once the dough is able to be kneaded into a ball, you press it into a disc, wrap it in cling film, then refrigerate it for at least two hours (or in my case, overnight):
Now comes the part where I found the pasta frolla a little cantankerous. The chilled dough is rolled out until 1/8" thick, and then used to line your greased tart pan. I found the pasta frolla to be very soft and it became sticky quickly, so I had to patch it quite a bit in the tart pan.
You then layer the drained, marinated plum slices over the base of the uncooked tart shell:
and bake it for 20 minutes. In the meantime, you beat together Greek yoghurt, an egg, the plum juice and vanilla (and cornflour if you think you need it for thickness), then pour that mixture over the par-baked plums and bake for a further 20 minutes. And voila:
The end result is a pretty, pale-pink tart which tastes delicious:
Thanks to Simona for hosting us for Daring Bakers this month, and for this lovely recipe. To see what crostata delights the other Daring Bakers made, visit the Daring Bakers blogroll.