This is it folks.  The best daring bakers challenge yet. This Crostada will rock your world.

Intensely buttery crust that starts with a crunch then melts in your mouth, insanely gooey caramel sauce, fall spices, and fresh apples.

Holy yum.

You’re gonna love this.

Crust (pasta frolla) adapted from the November Challenge

  • scant 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick frozen unsalted butter (or margarine), grated
  • grated zest of half a lemon (optional — I did not include it)
  • 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.

Notes: Try to handle the dough as little as possible, you don’t want the margarine/butter to melt. I found it helpful to firmly push it together after covering it in plastic wrap to help it stay together.

Assembling and baking the crostata:

  1. Heat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. 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 if you wish. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick.
  7. 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.

Ta-daa!

In all actuality I had quite a bit of trouble getting this crust to behave, hence while it looks all crumbly. In the end, I got most of it covered with the rolled out dough, but then I went and patched up the numerous holes in the places where the crust crumbled. Still, if you have trouble rolling out your dough, it’s better to patch a few holes then to overwork your dough and add too much moisture to the flour.  This way lends to a more tender, flaky crust.

After you’ve done the hard part, let’s talk about filling…anything you like! Here’s what I did.

Apple filling

4 granny smith apples + 2 gala apples cored, peeled, and sliced thin

1 cup brown sugar

pinch of salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 stick butter melted

Mix together, rest covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Layer neatly in the tart crust. Bake in middle or lower rack of oven at 375 for 1.5 hours or until sauce is thick and caramelized.

Pre-baking.

Post-baking.

Oh yea. Just try not to sink your teeth into that.

Hope every had a most excellent thanksgiving!

-Katie

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