Vengeance is sweet (and chocolatey)

Woo-hoo! My first ever Daring Baker Challenge!! I’ve been looking forward to this since I signed up at the end of September.

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.

At first, when I heard that the challenge was to make pasta frolla for a crostata, I was a little disappointed. I had just made Goat Cheese and Apple Tarts and felt kinda gypped that now I had to make just another tart. But then I started thinking about what to fill the crostata with and my brain (as usual) immediately went to Nutella. That train of thought made me remember the Hazelnut and Chocolate tart that I made around the holidays in 2009. It tasted delicious and everybody loved it, but it looked like it had already been eaten and chucked back up again. I relied on the heat of the oven to melt chocolate chips into the filling. I don’t know what kind of physics was going on that day, but the chocolate refused to melt. It melted on the counter at room temperature. It melted in my hands at 98°F. But 325°? Not so much. (Oddly enough, at the same time in a kitchen 50+ miles away, my baking buddy, Limpetfan, was making a similar item and had the same chocolate-no-melty problem.)

My baking challenge was now not to make a pasta frollo (although it was done anyway) but to bring vengeance up on the non-melting chocolate chips of 2009. Their kind would be broken down to mere semblances of what they once were. They would never again mock me by remaining as morsels while I ordered them to meld into the hazelnut goo preparation. <insert maniacal  laughter here>

I prepared the pasta frollo according the recipe provided by the Daring Baker Challenge hostess.  I started off by using the semi-cheating method of cutting butter into a flour mixture- the food processor. In this food processor is

  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • about a tablespoon and a half of vanilla sugar

I pulsed the food processor to turn the chunks of butter and dry ingredients to a breadcrumby consitancy. Then I dumped it out onto my plastic wrap covered countertop. I made a well in the middle of the pile, into which I put:

  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

It's like the Eye of Sauron if Sauron liked baked goods

Then I worked the whole mess together until it formed a nice little ball of dough that then lived in the fridge for 3 hours in a plastic wrap cacoon. I rolled out about 3/4 of the dough until it was about 1/8″ thick and a big enough circle to fit in my 9″ fluted tart pan. I flipped the dough sheet into the pan and trimmed away the edges. The edges joined the remaining 1/4 of the dough to be used to make strips to make a pretty little lattice work design. The pretty little lattice work design was just not meant to be though. I couldn’t make it look pretty. But, the dough tasted really yummy and being 1/2 Italian and 1/2 Cookie Monster, I made cookies out of the leftover dough instead. I hope the Daring Baker goddesses don’t hang me by my apron strings.

Evidence of my lack of will power

And now for the revenge part of this recipe. The recipe for this originally came from Giada de Laurentiis (clicky on her name if you want the recipe.) It called for chocolate chips but this time I was not going to kowtow to the little non-melting bastards. I microwaved the solidity out of them before slowly mixing the chocolate into the eggs and butter and other ingredients. The mixture went into my pasta frolla shell instead of the store-bought frozen crust that Ms. de Laurentiis called for. An hour later, I had this:

fully incorporated chocolatey goodness

But now, since I made cookies instead of lattice, the crostata wasn’t very pretty. I through together a quick hazelnut whipped cream. (1 cup heavy cream, 3 tbsp powdered sugar, and ~2 tsp roasted hazelnut oil. whip the snot out of it with an electric mixer until it becomes whipped cream.) A sprinkling of hazelnuts and chocolate shavings and the crostata was ready for the Black Friday dinner table.

Served with a bottle of Brotherhood Winery Riesling

First ever Daring Baker challenge completed!