Daring Bakers do 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 Bakers Challenge that didn’t scare the bejezus out of me. It was nice to just take a couple hours to put together this classic tart. I thought about what to fill the tart with for a while, then finally asked my family what they wanted. My brother requested something creamy/custardy, my mom requested lemon. And so my lemon scented custard crostata was born.

I wanted to try a lattice top to the tart, but I wasn’t able to slice the into even strips so I chose to cut out circles of dough instead. Once the crostata had baked I topped it with some of the candied lemon slices I made.  The crostata was delicious, but I think baking it in a tart pan was a mistake. To me a crostata should be more rustic looking, like it just got thrown together by an italian nonna on a Sunday afternoon. I thought about making another one, but my ever expanding waistline talked me out of it. There is a lot of baking to be done leading up to Christmas, and I need to choose my calories wisely.


For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

For the filling

  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 500 ml milk
  • 3 strips of lemon peel about 3″ long and 1/2″ wide
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp limoncello (optional)
  1. Make the crust: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter to the flour and rub the mixture together until it has a coarse crumb consistency.
  2. Make a well in the center of the butter flour mixture and pour the egg into it. Use a fork to blend the dough together. Knead the dough lightly, then form a disk.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. Once chilled, cut 1/4 of the dough off then roll the remaining dough out and place into a 9 inch tart pan. Chill the rolled out dough for 30 minutes.
  5. Dock the pastry (poke little holes), cover with parchment and weigh the crust down with pie weights or dried beans.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. Remove the weights and let the dough cool.
  7. Make the filling: In a large saucepan heat the milk and lemon peel slices until steaming. Let the milk and lemon steep for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon peel.
  8. In another bowl, mix the eggs, sugar and flour together. Pour a small amount of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly and quickly. Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the egg mixture, always while whisking.
  9. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and warm at very low heat, stirring often. When the mixture starts to thicken, turn the heat up higher and cook one more minute, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the limoncello.
  10. Pour the custard into the tart shell. Roll out the remaining dough, cut into strips or shapes and place on top of the custard.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  12. Decorate with candied lemon slices.


Magazine Monday – Candied Lemon Slices

I bought an enormous bag of lemons at Costco the other day for a dessert I have planned, but the rest have just been sitting in a bowl waiting for a use. Sometimes when I walk by them I hear them say “eat me”.

So I flipped through a bunch of magazines and found a recipe for candied lemon slices in the March 2005 issue of Martha Stewart Living. Candying a couple of them seemed like a great way to use them. While making this recipe I realized for about the millionth time that I could really use a mandoline. I haven’t bought one yet because they scare me (I’m known for making stupid kitchen moves) but it would really make life a lot easier to have one.  Maybe one day I’ll develop the focus required for using one.

Other than my issues with slicing thinly, this recipe is pretty easy. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes, but most of that time is unattended.

I’ll be submitting this post to Cream Puffs in Venice for Magazine Monday. Magazine Monday’s are a chance to get through all those magazine recipes we have bookmarked to make but never do. Make something, post it, and share it with the rest of us!

Candied Lemon Slices

  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Prepare an ice water bath.
  2. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice the lemon very thinly.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add the lemon slices and boil until slightly softened (about 1 minute). Remove lemon slices and put them in the ice water bath.
  4. In a medium sauce pan bring 1 cup of water and the sugar to boil. Place the lemon slices in the sugar-water in one layer and lower the heat to simmer.
  5. Simmer the lemon slices for 1 hour, then place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment.