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.
This month we were challenged to make "Pasta Frolla" which is very, very similar to the pastry dough I use for the very popular Brazilian "empadas". Therefore, I was quite comfortable working with it.
Simona wanted us to make a sweet Crostata with any filling we wanted. So, I chose a very easy lime filling that doesn't require cooking or baking and is getting more and more popular in Brazil. I used the pastry recipe provided for the challenge but had to add a little bit of flour, I don't know exactly if it was due to the different flour in Brazil or to the hot day I chose to make it. But in the end it worked out fine and it was delicious.
I also made a savory version omitting the sugar and lemon zest from the dough. This time I didn't have to add flour. It came together beautifully. I wanted to make an eggplant filling and googled for eggplant crostata... believe it or not, I found one!! By the way, an EXCELLENT one! Thanks, Chef Dennis, for sharing! I followed the filling recipe almost to a T, but used the challenge Pasta Frolla provided by Simona. I also made a free form crostata for the first time and I loved this variation.
100g (1/2 cup) superfine sugar
235g (1 3/4 cups) all purpose flour (I used 2 cups)
a pinch of salt
115g cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (I used lime)
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten
Whisk together sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt.
Rub butter into the flour until crumbly. You can use a food processor for this task.
Add egg mixture (great tip: you may want to save a little bit of this mixture for brushing the dough later)
Work with your fingers until the dough comes together into a ball.Shape the dough into a flat disc and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For savory Pasta Frolla, I omitted the sugar and lemon zest, and didn't have to add extra flour.
For this tiny flower shaped lime crostata, I used a homemade cookie cutter
I rolled the dough as for cookies, cut out the flower shapes and laid them over upside down metal cups that had been previously greased (only where the dough reached). I pricked the dough with a fork. You don't have to force the sides down, this will happen naturally with the heat of the oven. I learned this clever technique HERE.
I baked them in a preheated oven at 180°C for approximately 20 minutes. I removed when they just started to get golden. They popped out of the cup easily and this is how they looked:
I loved this technique because it's a blind baking that doesn't require lining with parchment and filling with pie weights. And the result was even better than I thought it would be.
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
200g heavy cream (can be UHT)
3 medium limes
zest of one lime (optional if you want to intensify the flavor)
Combine all the ingredients using a whisk, but you don't have to beat it. Set aside for about 30 minutes. You will notice that it will thicken. Fill the cooled shells. Refrigerate until ready to serve. EASY AS THAT!
Adapted from Chef Dennis' Eggplant Crostata
Pasta Frolla (above) from which I omitted sugar and lemon zest
4 cups of raw Eggplant cut into cubes
3 cloves of garlic sliced
4 stems of fresh oregano
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Brazilian fresh white cheese (Queijo Minas)
1 Large Tomato sliced
1 Tablespoon Chopped Basil
1 oz shredded Mozzarella
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add Eggplant and sliced Garlic into a large bowl and lightly coat with extra virgin Olive Oil. You need the oil to properly cook the eggplant but you do not want it to be greasy!
Place your eggplant into a baking dish, season with sea salt, black pepper and the fresh oregano, place in a 180°C (350°F) oven for about 20 minutes, until eggplant is tender. Set aside to cool.
After eggplant has cooled, add in the fresh white cheese.
Roll out the Pasta Frolla into a circle between two sheets of parchment paper.
Peel the upper paper off and place the roasted eggplant mixture and top with fresh chopped basil.
Add tomato slices and fold dough over.
Brush with that little bit of egg mixture you saved from the dough (the great tip!)
Drizzle tomatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 180°C (350°F), or until your dough has a nice color to it. When your Crostata's are about 5 minutes from being done, top each tomato slice with some shredded mozzarella cheese.
When the cheese is nicely melted remove from the oven, and sprinkle a little chopped basil on top of the cheese. Serve immediately !
You have absolutely NO IDEA how good this eggplant Crostata is. If you like eggplant, you should definitely give it a try! Congratulations Chef Denis for this WONDERFUL recipe, and thanks a lot for sharing!!
Thanks to Simona of briciole for this fantastic challenge!!
If you want to see the many wonderful creations the Daring Bakers have come up with, please visit THE DARING KITCHEN. This challenge has produced countless Crostatas of all shapes and flavors, worth a visit! There, you can also find the original recipes for this challenge.