Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Daring Bakers Challenge: Pasta Frolla

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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.

All things amazing can happen in a pasta frolla!  I've been browsing through the Daring Kitchen Forums and have been astounded by the variety of crostatas out there.  I'm telling you this... if you want amazing then you have to follow the amazing Daring Bakers!  Please don't begin to think that I put myself into this catagory of amazing bakers.  True, I am part of the challenge but I have a long way to go before I am in some of their playing fields!

Hubby hates fruit and I hate eating things by myself, especially if that is an entire crostata.  So I did what any other good wife does (sharing the wealth of fat around) and found this recipe for a chocolate crostata made by Alexander Guarnaschelli on the Food Network.  I wanted to be fair and do one of the pasta frolla options Simona gave us so I combined the two recipes.  It was rich and amazingly good... something the entire family ate :-)
My adorable grandsweetie and her momma checking things out!
Simona offered us to versions of the pasta frolla and I chose the first version.  I don't have a big enough food processor (Christmas and birthday hint family :-) ) but that's ok as I've gotten along this far without one and my doughs always come out fine.
Version 1 of pasta frolla
•1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
•1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
•a pinch of salt
•1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] 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

Making pasta frolla by hand:
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. 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 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.
Ganache for Filling:

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate (I had Hershey's brand on hand)
Ganache: In a small pot, over low heat, heat the cream with the cinnamon and orange zest. Use the pot of cream as the bottom of a double boiler and melt the chocolate, in a bowl, over the cream. When the chocolate has melted and the cream is heated, transfer the cream to a bowl and allow the chocolate and cream to cool slightly and separately. When somewhat warm, whisk the cream and the chocolate together to combine. Put the ganache in the refrigerator to cool.

 Putting it all together:

before baking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush any excess flour off the dough before putting a spoonful of the cooled ganache in the center of each circle. Fold the sides up around it, making the chocolate the center of a small "money purse." Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven to a serving platter. Put any remaining ganache in the cavities of the crostada. Serve immediately with sour cream, whipped cream, or ice cream, if desired. Sift some powdered sugar over the crostata and garnish with a pinch of ground cloves, if desired.
Fresh from the oven!

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