November 26, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2010 - Crostata!

Whoohoo! November brings the third bakers' challenge and me with a hankerin' for pumpkin... and caramel... 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.

So the crust... I made it following the recipe (adding a bit of fresh ground nutmeg). I made it as if I were making pâte sucrée. As Chef Wild said, love your dough! It was pretty soft but chilled it was easy enough to work with. I would use it again. :)

The filling... toasted some spices and set them aside. Made some caramel and added the pumpkin. Then after it smoothed out, I added the spices. I decided to go with a fun edge on the crust, it took me a while. Then I cut out a pumpkin, did some twists, and cut out some leaves. Poured in the filling and baked it off.

The pasta frolla was good, the filling was ok. Thanks daring bakers for another fun afternoon of baking! Here is the recipe for pasta frolla...

Pasta Frolla
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar (see Note 1) or a scant 3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
grated zest of half a lemon (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option, see Note 2)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

Note 1: Superfine sugar is often also referred to as ultrafine, baker’s sugar or caster sugar. It’s available in most supermarkets. If you cannot find “superfine” sugar, you can make your own by putting some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and letting it run until the sugar is finely ground.

Note 2: There are different ways of making vanilla sugar. I keep vanilla beans in a jar half-filled with sugar until I need to use them, for example, to make vanilla ice cream. After I remove the split bean from the custard that will go into the ice cream maker, I rinse it, dry it and put it back in the jar with sugar.

Making pasta frolla by hand:

Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs. You can do this in the bowl or on your work surface, using your fingertips or an implement of choice.

Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use).
Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.Shape the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.

Making pasta frolla with a food processor:

Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.
Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface
See step 3 above and continue as explained in the following steps (minus the lemon zest, which you have already added).

Variation for Version 1 of pasta frolla:

If you want, you can make the pasta frolla using a combination of all-purpose flour and whole-wheat pastry flour.

If you choose to try this variation, use 1 cup [240 ml, 135 g, 4 3/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup [180 ml, 100 g, 3.5 oz.] whole-wheat pastry flour

November 9, 2010

Outings with Shirley - Garden Park Ward

Shirley and I have set out to educate ourselves about a style/type/area of photography once a month. She brought me to the Garden Park Ward so we could snap some lovely fall photos... It was fun and I can't wait until St. George. :)

November 5, 2010

A trip to the pumpkin patch

A couple weekends ago, we went to Wheeler Farm with Brian, Shirley, and the tots. It was a pretty good deal, a hayride, a kiddie corn maze, and 7 pumpkins for $30! I even got out my wellies.

Here is a mini-slideshow: