27 Nov 2010

My first DB challenge - Daring Baker's Nov 2010 challenge - Crostata or Pasta frolla - With dates and nut filling

This is my "Premier défi or Prima sfida" : My first Daring Bakers challenge :)

All went well (Thank God for that !!!!)

I registered in the daring kitchen for both daring bakers and for the daring cooks challenges............FUN ! that is what I thought :) so it was.

I was super excited with being accepted in to the daring kitchen for both the challenges. 

This daring bakers Nov 2010 challenge was to make "CROSTATA" or "PASTA FROLLA" in Italian. It was hosted by Simona from Briciole
She had chosen the Italian dessert Crostata. I have seen these kind of tarts here in the pâtisseries and mostly in the supermarkets in the baked or ready to bake section. I have never done this at home and neither had I tasted a tart till the time I had baked one myself :)

I used the first recipe version1 of Pasta frolla that Simona had given,

We require,

Superfine sugar - 1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp (150 ml / 100 gms / 31/2 oz)
Powdered sugar - a scant 3/4 cup (180 ml / 90 gms / 3 oz)
Unbleached all purpose flour - 1 3/4 cup (420 ml / 235 gms / 81/4 oz)
Salt - a pinch
Cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces - 1 stick (8 tbsp / 4 oz / 115 gms)
Lemon zest, grated of 1/2 lemon (I used a bio lemon)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten in a small bowl

I made the Pasta frolla by hand ;


1. Whisk together Sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
2. Rub the cut butter into the flour until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. I did this in a big mixing bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture, and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a tsp of the beaten egg mixture for glazing purpose later).
4. Add lemon zest to the flour+butter+egg mixture.
5. Use a fork to incorporate all the liquid into the solid ingredients and then use your fingertips to combine.
6. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
7. Shape the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill at least for 2 hours, you can refrigerate the dough overnight (this is what I did ;) ).

For preparing the crostata crust, I had blind baked and then I had filled it with the dates and nut filling that I had made.

I followed the following instructions for blind baking, given for the Crostata di frutta fresca.

1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC / 350ºF.
2. Roll out the batch of pasta frolla and cover the base of the tart pan (I used a disposable cake pan).
3. Cut a piece of parchment paper / aluminium foil large enough to cover the bottom of the crust and extend out a bit over the edges of the pan.
4. You can use pie weights or dry beans to blind bake. Place whatever weights you are using directly over the parchment paper or the aluminium foil in an even layer.
5. Place the crostata shell in the oven and bake for 20 mins.
6. Remove the parchment paper or aluminium foil and continue baking for another 5 mins till the border is light golden.
7. Remove from the oven and cool the crostata shell completely before filling it.

Dates and nut filling

This is what I used to make the filling;

Dates, chopped - 3/4 cup
Peeled almonds, chopped - 1/2 cup + 1 tsp
Milk - 3-4 tbsps
Clarified butter / ghee - 1 tsp
Poppy seeds, dry roasted - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp


1. Blend the dates with the milk till you get a not so thick paste.
2. Heat a pan with 1 tsp of clarified butter / ghee.
3. Pour the dates and milk paste into the pan and add the chopped almonds. Cook the mixture for around 10 minutes.
4. The cooked mixture has a bit darker shade than the uncooked paste.
5. Remove the cooked dates and nut mixture from the pan. Cool it.

Now filling the crostata shell,

1. Spread the dates and nut mixture over the shell slowly and carefully, since the date and nut mixture is a bit thick and a little sticky even after it is cooked.
2. Sprinkle the dry roasted poppy seeds to cover the mixture.

VOILA !!!!

My first Daring bakers challenge completed successfully :)

Thanks for visiting my blog :)


  1. Hi Abhi,

    Crostata was amazing. Me and Murali liked it very much.

    Murali asked me to learn it coz he liked it soo much. :)
    Seems almost impossible for me...


  2. Thanks a lot dear :)

    It is quite simple to make :)
    Just skip the eggs and add water in its place or may be milk ..... I am going to try the vegetarian version soon ........

  3. Welcome and hello to the Daring Kitchen and congratulations on your first very successful challenge. I really like your enthusiasm for this challenge and the crostata that you produce looks delectable, the perfect layers and the light airy crust are irresistible. I adore the nut pieces in the date purée superb work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  4. Welcome to the DB's! Hope you have fun with us on our baking adventures. Your first challenge is beautiful. I couldn't figure our what was on top...blond poppy seeds! I have only seen black poppy seeds. I will now have to find them somewhere!!

  5. Thanks sandie :)

    You can find these kind of poppy seeds in any Indian/Asian store.

  6. Wow, wow, wow! What a way to start the daring bakers' challenges! Your crostata looks fantastic and that dates-nuts filling sounds absolutely divine.

  7. Congratulations on your first looks great! I've never seen white poppy seeds before--they look very festive!

  8. Wow that's a great idea for a filling. Great job on your first challenge!

  9. What a great first challenge. Welcome to Daring Bakers. I ♥ that all went well. Also think your choice of filling is very exotic! WOW!


I would love to hear any suggestions you have.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Have a great time !!