I decided to make a caramel apple crostata and a PH inspired banana and chocolate crostata.
Version 1 of pasta frolla
- 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar or a scant 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option)
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
- Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
- 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.
- Make a well in the centre 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).
- Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
- Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
- Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
- 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.
- Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
- Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistenc y of coarse meal.
- Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface
- See step 3 above and continue as explained in the following steps (minus the lemon zest, which you have already added).
- Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5].
- Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough. Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
- To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
- Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
- If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.
- Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
- If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.
- Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around.
- Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
- Take out of the fridge the reserved pasta frolla you had cut away earlier. Roll it with your pin and cut into strips or use cookie cutters to make small shapes (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.
- Spread the jam or fruit preserves evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
- Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes. (Note: You can use dough scraps to make cookies: see the Additional Information section for some pointers)
- Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid.
- Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue. (Note: Every oven is different. In my oven it took 34 minutes to bake the tart until golden.)
- When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving.
- 5 apples assorted kinds, peeled and diced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg or freshly grate to your heart's desire
- 1/4 c. water
Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook unitl apples are nice and tender. Some will be applesaucy (?) and others knife tender.
Cool for 15 - 20 mins and place in pie shell following instructions listed above.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF [180ºC/gas mark 4].
- Roll out a batch of the pasta frolla and cover the base of the tart pan. (You can use Version 1 or 2: if you use Version 1, you will have more leftover pasta frolla to turn into cookies.)
- Cut a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom of the crust and extend out a bit over the edges of the pan.
- You can use pie weights or dry beans to blind bake. Place whatever weight you’re using directly on the parchment paper or aluminum foil in an even layer.
- Place the crostata shell in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the weights and parchment paper and continue baking the crostata shell until the border is light golden, about 5 minutes (watch carefully to avoid over-baking, which results in a hard shell). In the absence of weight, the crust may rise in th e middle: if that occurs, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the oven and let the crostata shell cool completely before proceeding.
- If you use a tart pan with removable bottom, release the base from the fluted tart ring, then slide the cooled crostata shell on a serving plate for filling. (Note: If you’ve used a cake pan or pie plate, use a bit of care in taking the shell out of the baking vessel.)
- Spread the prepared pastry cream over the cooled shell.
- Decorate the surface with fresh fruit. The crostata mus t be cool, but not cold, so if you refrigerate it, take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving. This crostata is best eaten the same day it is prepared.
Pour caramel onto bottom of the crust enough to coat the bottom about an 1/8 - 1/4 in.
Place bananas in a single layer across the bottom
Slice with warm knife and serve.