Friday, 26 November 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge - November 2010: Crostata

A little update before blogging about my DB challenge: My left hand is still recovering from the burn; it means my hand is still bandaged although not as bad as the picture in my previous post. I now have four of my fingers out of the bandage, and the bandage just goes up to my wrist instead of my arm. I still can't use my left hand normally though because my thumb is positioned in a certain way by the bandage therefore not allowing it to move. Good news is the doctor is happy with the progress of my burn, so pretty soon, I shall be back in the kitchen baking more sweets!

In the meantime, I had my H acting as my sous chef for this challenge. At first I decided to miss out on this month's challenge, but the thought of pastry cream tart alone made me salivate, so I kept on pondering how I could make it happen. Good thing my H volunteered to be my second hand, although I did have some hesitations because my H and I don't work so well in the kitchen arena. His quirks and my quirks don't mesh well in cooking/baking. I'm quite strict, focused and theoretical, while he's more easygoing and experimental. Anyway, despite all that, we gave it a go; everything worked perfectly. He was a good support; he wanted me to make most of this challenge myself, so he was just quietly watching me bake and assist on things he knows I cannot do with one hand i.e. slicing the butter into cubes, scraping the dough that has been stuck on my hand and putting in/taking out the crostata from the oven... oh, and the dishes!

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Crostata is basically an Italian version of a tart, but what makes it a crostata is the use of a specific sweet pastry called pasta frolla. I've become loyal with Martha Stewart's pate brisee recipe when I'm making any sorts of pies and tarts, so to try a new kind of pastry is refreshing. I have to admit that I do kind of like the pasta frolla better than pate brisee. Just a simple reminder for me to not get stuck in my own ways; always try to explore new possibilities of using something else other than what I'm used to, so I have much to thank for from this challenge.

I've thought long and hard as to what filling I should make for my crostata. In the end, the most simple choice warmed my appetite - pastry cream filling; in Italy, this specific crostata is called crostata con la crema. The pasta frolla recipe that our host, Simona, gave us had lemon zest incorporated in the dough, but I decided to use the kiss of orange zest instead. As for my pastry cream, a very classic vanilla pastry cream. So could you just imagine an orange tang of crust topped off with a flow of incredibly creamy vanilla pastry cream? I say that's utter deliciousness!

Oh, I got some leftover pasta frolla dough as well as vanilla pastry cream, so I decided to make it into an empanada. Empanada is a semicircle pie with either savoury or sweet stuffing, which is popular in Spain and Portugal, as well as countries that has been colonized by both countries i.e. Philippines and most Latin countries. Anyway, my empanada was not stuffed but rather filled with vanilla pastry cream; an absolute treat.

Bisou bisou,


  1. That's what I call a Daring Baker! You made it beautifully despite your wounded hand. Congratulations! Your Crostata looks wonderful!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous & all that with an injured hand as well. Bravo! I love the empanada. A lovely parcel of pastry cream sounds perfect.

    I hope your hand gets better soon.

  3. WOW both versions look so amazing the empanada is especially delicious looking great work on this challenge and wonderful that you and H can work so well together. Nice photos as well. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. Lovely! It was hard to chose what flavour to make the crostata wasn't it?
    I'm so sorry to see that You hurt yourself so badly but pleased that it's not put you off baking. Here's to a speedy recovery.

  5. Your Crostata looks wonderful! love the empanada...sounds and looks soo delicious. ♥

  6. A beautiful crostata, and that empanada too! Now you can say that you can make crostata with one arm behind your back! Fantastic job, and I'm happy to hear that you're healing well.

  7. Congratulations on doing this challenge with one hand! It's always great to have a sous-chef - glad it worked out well. Hope your hand will get better soon!

  8. Looks great - I would rather have your crostata than the one I made - but my wife is a chocolate lover so I had to use chocolate for her. I have had empanadas but I had no idea that there were sweet empanadas - will have to try that sometime. Now I have to figure out how to get a sous chef without having to burn myself.

  9. Isn't it nice when H is such a great sport? :-) You guys did a great job, congrats!

  10. Look great--kudos on pulling this off! And the empanada is such a great idea.

  11. I can't believe you made this gorgeous crostata with one hand - kudos to you! Love the ricotta - marsala filling and lovely lattice top. Looks and sounds delicious, and wow..I love empanadas to death. Beautifully done! Glad your burn is healing :)

  12. Your dedication to the task is admirable. I hope that by now your hand is fully healed. As you can imagine, I was very glad to read that you liked the pasta frolla you made better than pate brisee. Your crostata looks very nice and I just love the idea of making empanadas with the leftover pasta frolla and cream.


♥ Love to hear what you think of my post!:) Everyone's welcome to comment :) Bisou bisou ♥


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