I promised you guys I was going to have part II of my Nutella Trilogy ready by today. When I saw that the Daring Bakers’ Challenge for this month was crostata and, incidentally around that time, I started to have some serious Nutella cravings, I put the two things together: I had to make a Crostata alla Nutella.
Then, going back to my childhood memories I decided to make crostatine, which is nothing else than a small, single portion crostata. As many other Italian kids, I grew up eating crostatine alla nutella (ok, some times crostatine alla marmellata – jam- were acceptable!) as merenda (afternoon snack). My mom, as many other Italian full time working moms did not make them herself (plus, she really does not like baking, go figure!). But even the store-bought crostatine were fine with me. That much was my nutella cravings, since when I was a little kid.
As a grown up, I still love them. Come on, they are cute and, as any other small dessert, they are portion control. You wrap them up individually and you can bring them with you to work for an energy snack or to a picnic. Who doesn’t like portion control these days? So, without further ado, I leave you with the recipe.
Of course, the blogger who chose Crostata for this month DB Challenge is Italian: the amazing Simona @Briciole (btw, check out her blog, it really is fantastic, patriotism aside!) As you know, I like doing things by hand, so I’m reporting the instructions to make the crostata by hands. But please, go ahead and check what the other Daring Bakers did! Some yummy stuff, you’ll see!
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.
Crostatine alla Nutella
100 gr (3 ½ oz or 1/c cup minus 1 tbsp) superfine sugar
235 gr (8 1/4 oz. or 1 ¾ cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
113 gr (4 oz or 8 tbsp) 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
Nutella (or other fillings, but really, do you want to choose another?)
Whisk together the sugar, the flours and the salt in a bowl.
Rub or cut the butter into the sugar and flour mixture until it 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 flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten egg and the lemon zest.
Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into mixture 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.
Heat the oven to 375ºF degrees.
Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap it and cut away ¼ of the dough (or less if you are making crostatine). Reserve this dough to make the lattice top of the crostata. Refrigerate this dough while you work on the tart base.
To help roll the crostata dough, keep the dough on top of the plastic wrap that you had it wrapped in. This can help rolling the dough and can also help when transferring the dough to your pan. You can also use parchment paper for this. However, you can also roll the dough directly on a work surface if you prefer.
Lightly dust the top of the dough and your work surface (if you’re rolling directly on a work surface) with flour. Keep some flour handy to dust the dough as you go along.
If the dough is very firm, start by pressing the dough with the rolling pin from the middle to each end, moving the rolling pin by a pin's width each time; turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat; when it softens, start rolling.
Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick (or into 4-6 circles if you are making crostatine),
If you used the plastic wrap or parchment paper as rolling surface, flip dough over the pan, centering it, and delicately press it all around so the corners are well covered. Peel away the plastic wrap.
Trim the excess dough hanging over the edges of the pan. Press the remaining dough around the border into the sides of the pan making sure the border is an even thickness all the way around.
Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places.
Take out of the fridge the reserved pasta frolla you had cut away earlier. Roll it with your pin and cut into strips or use cookie cutters to make small shapes (this is not traditional, but it looks cute); or roll with your hands into ropes.
Spread the Nutella evenly over the bottom of the crostata.
Use the prepared strips or rolls of dough to make a lattice over the surface, or decorate with the cut shapes.
Brush the border and strips of dough with the reserved beaten eggs. You can add a drop or two of water to the beaten eggs if you don’t have enough liquid. [I always skip this step!]
Put the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the tart is golden.
After 25 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue. (Note: if you are making crostatine you should check after 20 minutes because they will take less total time to be ready!)
When done, remove the tart from the oven and let cool. If you have used a tart pan with a removable bottom, then release the tart base from the fluted tart ring. Make sure the tart is completely cool before slicing and serving…..well, if you can resist the temptation to take a bite!
Have a sweet day!