Saturday, November 27, 2010

November Daring Bakers: Crostata (tarts)

The first rustic tart I ever made was from a recipe by Martha Stewart. It was her ricotta crostata. I quickly fell in love with crostata quite madly and have made them many a time since.

Why the hard crush?

A) They're supposed to look homey and rustic, which means that every split in the crust, every over-darkened crag, every bit of seepage from under the crust means that it's looking more and more like it should. Flaws are the perfection in a crostata. Therefore, it's my kind of creation.

B) I've mastered the art of making crostata with relatively little mess. I make my crust in a food processor in large batches, then freeze it in single crust portions. So, when I'm ready to make a tart, I simply take a bag out of the freezer and let it rest for a few hours in the fridge or on the counter. I then roll out the crust on a sil-pat, pile on the fruit, then fold up. Easy and neat.

C) If, for some reason (of which there are way too many to count in my case), the crostata fails, there isn't a lot of time or fruit wasted in the process.

D) Crostata are good for using small amounts of fruit--think about the last of the plums from the tree, a few meager handfuls of huckleberries, or the couple of apples on the verge of going bad after sitting on the counter a bit too long. Any of these are sufficient for a crostata, and all are elevated to a fine rank simply with the enshrouding cape of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs.

Really, there isn't' anything not to love about a 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.

Today's crostata was three apples from the orchard of Mr. Boom's aunt. Maybe a third cup of sugar? A sprinkling of ground cloves, a double sprinkling of cinnamon, and a few dots of butter. Oh, and a healthy sprinkling of turbinado sugar on top just before baking.

Our Black Friday shopping consisted of a Christmas tree permit from the US Forest Service. Today we're decorating the tree and inhaling the warmth of crostata aromas. I love Daring Bakers, and I love the annual tradition of pulling ornaments from their boxes and engaging in a healthy dose of remember whens...

I hope you're having a great weekend, too, no matter how you choose to start the Christmas season.

Head over to the Daring Bakers to see other some of the amazing creations of the other Daring Bakers, and to download the recipe straight from the source!


  1. I love everything you say about why you love crostata - so, so true!! Your apple crostata looks beautiful (perfectly rustic!) and delicious. Great job with the challenge.

  2. WOW your simple yet elegant words about crostata warmed my heart for the holiday season well done.

    Your perfect crostata is just that perfect and the apple filling sounds so delicious.

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog.

    About the lattice work on the ricotta/lemon/honey/rose tart I did. Yes it is a lot of thin strips of pastry laid closely together. Take one sheet of pastry (on some parchment paper) and make lots of thin cuts lengthwise along the sheet (you do not have to be too exact with the cutting) spread out the strips a little using a knife then lift the parchment paper and place the lattice on the crostata. I call this lattice 'iron bark' lattice since it looks like iron bark tree bark and it looks so homely (rustic) and adds a casual look to the tart.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. Thanks, Shelley, yours were both great. I've got to get me some raspberries ASAP.

    Audax~I'll be heading back into the kitchen soon, obviously, trying out your method. I hope it looks as good as yours. Guess we better finish the pumpkin pie and the crostata first...we wouldn't want to get carried away now, would we?

  4. I agree with every word you said about Crostata. It was my first time making a free form one and I love it! Yours looks so delicious!