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 was unaware whether I had ever actually eaten a crostata before. Simona explained that a crostata was an Italian tart made with pasta frolla, a shortbread crust made with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. It could be filled with preserves, cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, or a variety of other ingredients. As I am a lover of all things pie and tart-related, this sounded like a delicious challenge, especially since I wanted to make one that was still delicious, without wheat flour, sugar, or butter!
But then reality set in – when would I make such a dessert? For some of you that might follow me on FaceBook or know me, I recently switched jobs, and so I’ve been filling my days learning a new commute (this commute is longer than my old one), a new way of doing things, and trying to catch up on rest whenever I can. Oh, and that little thing called Thanksgiving was a big event as well – it always is. Not that I’m complaining. I love my new job, and it’s a great opportunity for me. And I very much love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Nevertheless, this has left little time for kitchen play lately, so I opted to have my crostata do double-duty, and I would serve it alongside the traditional pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Little did I know that it would ultimately steal the show.
If you recall, I preserved a great deal of peaches during the summer. I opted to use my preserves for this crostata. I ended up needing more preserves than I had, however, so I grabbed the only other preserves I had in the house – some no-sugar-added kumquat preserves. I opted to stir spoonfuls of the kumquat preserves in with the peach preserves, and the result was more than I’d hoped for. Along with a lovely dairy-free, gluten-free crust that was tender and delicious, the resulting tart brightened your tastebuds and was a pleasant, lighter end to a large Thanksgiving meal. And without refined sugar, it was a bit easier for those diabetics in my family to have their
cake pie and eat it too! (Ha ha, I crack myself up!)
I can see other fruit crostatas in our near future. I still have blueberries frozen from the summer, and I have more peaches (not preserves) frozen as well. And next summer, these crostatas will appear in full force, I do believe! This crostata was well-praised by my family for Thanksgiving, so I imagine it would be welcomed anytime.
Peach and Kumquat Crostata
1 recipe gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust (recipe below)
2 c peach preserves (I made my own, refined sugar-free)
1/2 c kumquat preserves (you can substitute orange marmalade)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie crust and roll out to fit into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. (If no tart pan, you can also use a pie pan or regular tart pan, but the tart pan I bought was relatively inexpensive.) Press dough into pan as needed, and prick bottom with a fork. Combine preserves in a bowl, and spread out onto the crust evenly. With scraps of pie crust dough, roll out and make cut outs or cut into lattice strips, and lay over filling. Brush crust with beaten egg. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Remove and allow to cool completely before removing from pan and cutting. (Cutting when warm will not allow the pectin in the fruit to “set up” and your filling will be more likely to ooze out.)
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pie Crust, adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
1 c white rice flour
1/2 c sorghum flour
1/2 c potato starch
3 T sweet white rice flour
1/3 t fine sea salt
7 T palm shortening, placed in freezer for about 20 minutes to harden
1 cold large egg
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T agave nectar
1/4 c ice water
Whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet white rice flour, and salt. Remove the shortening from the freezer and dice into small pieces. Place it evenly around the flour, and with a pastry blender, a fork, or your hands, mix until the flour has a mealy texture and the largest pieces of shortening are the size of small peas.
Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and agave to the egg and beat well. Pour egg mix into the flour mix and stir until just incorporated. Next, drizzle some of the water over the flour mixture and stir in, just until the dough starts to come together. Add more water as you need, but don’t make the dough too wet. It should look “shaggy”. Push the dough together with your hands and place on a large piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into a ball, and flatten into a disc with your hands. Wrap the parchment paper around the dough and place in a zip-top bag and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or up to overnight.
If it’s been several hours since your dough was placed in the refrigerator, allow it to sit out on the counter for 15-20 minutes before working it. Otherwise, place between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out in a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. If the paper gets wrinkles in it, pull it up and place it back down again and keep rolling. If it cracks, wet your finger and repair the crack.
A trick to put your dough into the pie pan or tart pan – peel the top piece of parchment paper off of the dough, and turn the pan upside-down and place it over the pie dough. Slide your hand underneath the dough and the parchment paper, and place your other hand on top of the pie pan, and quickly flip the pan, dough, and parchment paper over all in one motion. Then, press the dough in a bit into the pan, and slowly and carefully remove the parchment paper. If the dough tears, repair it with your fingers. Once the paper is removed, you can finish pressing the dough into your pan as needed.