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 with a canal in the background. You might as well be in Italy, right?
Maybe two months ago, I ate a chocolate-dipped cannoli and thought to myself, the filling is divine, the chocolate is delicious, and the shell is…meh. So I made a mental note to find something else to put cannoli filling into.
Then I saw the Daring Baker challenge to make a crostata. We could fill the pasta frolla (a sweetened tart dough) with anything – jam, pastry cream, fresh fruit. I thought of my mental note and wanted to fill it with sweetened ricotta (that’s all cannoli filling is), but I was afraid it would be too much to eat a pie filled with just that. Then I thought a layer of chocolate in the bottom would help break things up, and be even more like my favorite kind of cannoli. I searched around and found that ricotta pies actually do exist. They usually have eggs in them, making the pie a sort of custard.
Pasta Frolla (tart dough) recipe here – I used the first one. I had to measure by volume because I was at home-home instead of in my apartment at school, where I have my scale. I dipped the cup into the flour instead of pouring the flour into the cup, and I think that was the wrong choice for this recipe. It was too dry and I had to add some water. Then it was too wet to roll out, so I just patted it into a pie dish. That worked fine, but you’re better off weighing or pouring your flour. I didn’t blind bake the crust.
Chocolate layer: I just poured a single layer of mini semisweet chocolate chips on top of the pasta frolla before filling it with the ricotta mixture.
Ricotta filling: I based my recipe very loosely on this one from alfemminile (in Italian). Here’s what I did: Mix 1 15-oz package of ricotta, 1 cup/100g of sugar, and 2 eggs. Pour into the crust.
Bake: It took mine 35 minutes at 350F. This was in my home-home oven, which is not as overzealous as my school-home oven, so that number might actually work for you, too. In fact, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to cook it longer at a lower temperature, it being a custard and all. A water bath for the pie pan would also help. Mine could’ve come out smoother, I’m sure.
If I do say so myself, the layer of chocolate on the bottom was a pretty good idea.