Nov 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Pumpkin Ricotta Crostata

crostada 3

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.

crostada 1

(before baking)

Since this months Daring Baker’s challenge fell right in the midst of Thanksgiving – I knew I was going to make something to share for dessert after our Thanksgiving meal.   At first – I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make for my crostata filling (since the challenge already provided the pasta frolla recipe (the dough)).  Then I happened to run across this recipe from Martha Stewart – and I knew it would be perfect.  I loved the addition of the ricotta and mascarpone cheeses and the pine nuts for the top. 

crostada 2

I’ve never made a crostata before – but it was really pretty easy.   The pasta frolla was simple to mix together and roll out.   The filling was even simpler since it was mixed together in the food processor.   The lattice was created with the remaining pasta frolla – and you roll the strips and then weave them together. 

In the end – the filling was really light and creamy – and I loved the contrast of textures created by the pine nuts and the crunchy tart shell. 

My relatives were really impressed by the presentation of this pie.  Unfortunately, it had to go up against many other Thanksgiving desserts – so my family was just taking tiny slivers and I ended up with some left over.  But it seemed to be quite the hit!   Enjoy!

crostada 4


for the pasta frolla

  • Scant 3/4 cup (3 oz.) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (4 3/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3.5 oz.) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl

for the pumpkin-ricotta filling

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, drained for 30 minutes in a cheesecloth-lined sieve set over a bowl
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


To make the pasta frolla

1. Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.

2. Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.

3. Empty food processor's bowl onto your work surface. 

4. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it.

5. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.

6. 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 until ready to use.

To make the pumpkin-ricotta filling and assemble crostata

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Bring pasta frolla to room temperature. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a lightly buttered  9 inch tart pan. Use your fingertips to press dough against bottom and sides of dish until even. Trim edges; refrigerate scraps in plastic wrap.

3. Prick bottom of pastry shell all over with a fork. Bake until set and pale golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Process ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Add the mascarpone, pumpkin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla; process until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add yolks; process until combined, about 10 seconds. Pour into pastry shell.

5. Tear reserved chilled dough scraps into 1-inch pieces. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll pieces with your hands to make 1/4-inch-thick ropes. Gently press one long rope around top edge of shell (patch two ropes together, if necessary). Gently place other pastry ropes on top of filling to create a lattice pattern (ropes of all lengths can be used).

6. Place 3 pine nuts in each square of lattice. Brush latticework with egg white.

7. Bake crostata until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 40 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

Source: filling: Martha Stewart Recipes pasta frolla: inspired the book La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene by Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) from briciole.

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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful crostata your have created for the Thanksgiving table, it is so gorgeous and I love the lattice and the pine nuts do look impressive great work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.