(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.)

I have to admit -I looked at this challenge and was unimpressed.  I make tarts all the time, and I have a really good tart crust recipe that I like.

But it’s the holidays, and who doesn’t need an extra dessert to take somewhere?  I was making a rather adventurous chocolate-cranberry pie for Thanksgiving, and thought a tart would be a good backup if the pie didn’t work out.

So I mixed up the tart dough.  It started with powdered sugar and flour, with an entire stick of butter worked into it until it crumbly.   Then add an egg and a yolk, work it into a dough, then into the fridge for two hours to rest.

I left mine in overnight, and put it on a silpat to roll it out:

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It rolled out far easily then I expected – cold, sticky dough is usually a real pain, but the silpat (and a light dusting of flour) really helped:

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For a filling, I used cherry jam. I’ve been doing a lot of homemade jam, and I had one batch of cherry that hadn’t set up evenly, but I figured a trip through the oven would fix it nicely. The recipe called for 1 3/4 cups, but that wasn’t nearly enough for my tart pan – even a thin coating took about 2.5 cups, but I may have a non-standard pan.

I planned to weave the top, but the dough I reserved had gotten soft while I assembled the jelly, and so I was doing good to get the strips to hold together long enough to lay them lightly on top.

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Then a quick egg wash, and off to the oven for half an hour. It came out looking really good:

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Since my pie looked to have been a success, we just went ahead and tried the tart – and it was really very good.  The sweet dough reminded me of a cookie, and the jam complimented it nicely.  I was so impressed with it that I immediately made a second one to take with me on an after-Thanksgiving trip.  I didn’t get pictures of the second one, but I made sure to keep the dough I’d reserved for the top cold, so I could actually weave the strips into a real lattice. 

I’ll probably make it again for my cookie-swap party, maybe with swirls of cream cheese in with the jam.  Definitely going in the "keep" folder!

( see the recipe )