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Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge, Crostata

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 was my first daring baker challenge. I first heard about it back in September, and signed up. But because of how their rules work, I wasn't actually given access to the challenges until Nov. 1. Each new baking challenge is posted in their forums on Nov. 1, and then you must post on Nov 27, no sooner, no later. You need to make the recipe from the challenge, but if the challenge host, (a different blogger each month) decides to give you flexibility, then you have options.

Simona provided us with two baking recipes, I followed version 1, a more traditional crostata. The only difference is that I think I may have grated in too much lemon zest. See, I was very excited to be using my new Microplane Zester I registered for it after reading great reviews on several websites. It lives up to its reviews. Previously, I has struggled with zesting, and frequently included pith (the white stuff under the skin) in my zest. This time I passed the zester across the lemon once, and had a complete line of zest. With just a few more zests, I had done the whole lemon, without really realizing what I'd done. This turned out fine though, because I ended up with a lemony crust, to accompany my berry filling.

When I first read this challenge, I'd planned to make a pumpkin filling - because Simona said we could use whatever filling we wanted (woo-hoo!). But Mr. Hobby kept asking me to make him a blackberry pie. One day I finally said "Blackberries are not in season, so I am not going to pay for $10 worth of blackberries to fill a pie." (Frozen blackberries just aren't the same.) Two days later, blackberries were on sale. Sheesh. So I made a blackberry filling. I like to preserve the shape of the berry, and try not to squish them when tossing them in the sugar/flour/salt. The blackberries weren't as full this time of year though, so I had to fill in with a handful of raspberries, to get the amount of filling I desired. Then, I heated the berries for 10 minutes in the oven, to give them a little extra baking time. I don't do this when I make pies, but the crostata had a shorter baking time listed.

After making the crostata, rolling it out, and putting it in a pie pan because I didn't have a tart pan, I scooped my hot filling in. I topped it with crust made in the shape of some train cookie cutters I have. Then baked. It turned out wonderfully! The crust was sort of like eating a lemon sugar cookie, and the blackberries were delicious, as usual.


  1. Hello and welcome to the Daring Bakers' and congratulations on your very first challenge and I hope you have many happy experiences with us.

    OMG your crostata look so lovely and I love the way you par-baked the berries for it. And those decorations are adorable well done. It sounds like the new grater does really work LOL LOL. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Thank you! I'm glad to have joined such a fun baking community!