Saturday, 27 November 2010

Daring Bakers Nov. 2010 - Persimmon Crostata

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. 

My first participation in the Daring Bakers challenges. I followed the first version for the pasta frolla, and for the filling I used some very nice persimmons I found in the supermarket the other day.
The instructions are quoted from the Daring Bakers challenge, all all credit goes to Simona from Briciole!

Persimmon Crostata

Ingredients for the base (pasta frolla): 
1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g] 
superfine sugar  
3/4 cup [180ml, 90g, 3 oz] of powdered sugar 
1 and 3/4 cup [420 ml, 235 g, 8 1/4 oz.] unbleached all-purpose flour 
a pinch of salt 
1 stick [8 tablespoons / 4 oz. / 115 g] 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 

Making pasta frolla
1. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl. 
2. Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture 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. 
3. Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour the beaten eggs into it (reserve about a teaspoon of the egg mixture for glazing purposes later on – place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use). 
4. Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture. 
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. 
7. 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. 

Making the persimmon filling

2 persimmons (the hard type)
100 mL of water
30 gr of dark sugar
100 mL cream
1 Star anis
Grounded cinnamon
Grounded nutmeg
Grounded ginger
2 medium eggs

Cut the persimmons in pieces and put them together with the water, sugar and star anise in a sauce pan. Simmer until the fruit is soft. Cool down.
Take to the food processor until you have a soft puree. Add the cream and the lightly beaten eggs, mixing well. Reserve.

Assembling and baking the crostata

1. Heat the oven to 375ºF [190ºC/gas mark 5]. 
2. Take the pasta frolla out of the fridge, unwrap.
3. 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. 
4. 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. 
5. 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. 
6. Roll the dough into a circle about 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick. 
7. 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. 
8. 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. 
9. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places. 
10. Spread the filling evenly over the bottom of the crostata
11. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 
12. After 30 minutes, check the tart and continue baking until the tart is of a nice golden hue.  
13. 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. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Preserved goat cheese

I managed to find for sale in some shops here in Germany, these wonderful portuguese goat cheeses that I love. They are quite firm, and very salty, so it´s a once in a while treat.

Then I remembered that my father used to preserve these type of cheeses in oil, so you can keep them at hand whenever you want a nice appetizer.

I suppose you could do these with other types of cheeses and adding the herbs or spices of your preference.

Preserved Goat Cheese with Rosemary, chili and garlic


Portuguese goat cheese 
Olive oil or oil of your preference
Rosemary brunches (4 to 5 if small)
2 chilies chopped in half
2 garlic cloves cut in half

Cut the cheese in small pieces of homogeneous size. In a clean sterilized glass flask put the cheese, garlic, chilies and rosemary. Add the oil until everything is covered and close with a tight lid. 
Before consuming I advise to let it rest for at least 2-3 weeks, so you can get a nice infusion of the flavors. You can always add more cheese or seasonings along the way, or even use the oil for seasoning/frying (it will have a nice garlic taste).