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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daring Bakers - Italian Ricotta 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.

I have enjoyed this challenge. It took me a long time to decide on the filling then I got the idea for a traditional Italian ricotta cheese filling from one of the Daring Baker posts. I used version 1 from our challenge for the Pasta Frolla and rolled it into an 8-inch tart pan. It has a lot more sugar and eggs than a pate sucre and was very crumbly; I had to add 2 TBS. of water to the dough to get it together.

I let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight before rolling it out; it was not such an easy task to roll it as it can get pretty sticky and break off here and there. Maybe pressing the dough in the tart pan with the finger-tips would be an easier, if not better, method as I had to do this with the edges anyway.

This is what I used for the filling, a recipe from "Group Recipes," slightly adapted.

Ricotta Filling
2 pounds ricotta
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange zest
4 egg yolks
2 TBS. white raisins, soaked overnight in marsala wine
Pastry cut-outs from the left over pasta frolla

Combine the ricotta cheese with ½ cup of sugar, 1 Tbs. tapioca, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, grated orange peel and egg yolks. Beat until they are thoroughly mixed. Stir in the raisins. Spoon this filling into the partially baked pastry shell spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Decorate the pie with the pastry cutouts. Make sure the filling covers the edges of the pastry so the pastry does not get too brown.

Place tart on a tray in the oven then bake on the middle shelf at 350 degrees F for 1 to 1¼ hours or until the crust is golden and the filling is firm. (I baked it for 1 hour and 10 mins.) The almost invisible flower shapes are pastry cutouts I made from the leftover dough.

After baking:
Take the pie from the oven and let it sit on wire rack to cool. Refrigerate for a while. Serve slightly chilled.