Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Savory Side of Crostata: November Daring Bakers’ Challenge

 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.

Rolled out crostata dough.  Look at those dill specks!

When I got this challenge, I was intent on completing it as soon as possible. I wanted to get it out of the way before Thanksgiving madness took over the kitchen and the grocery stores. The challenge recipe was released on Monday and I intended to bake my crostata on Wednesday, my day off. The only requirements of the challenge were to make the crostata dough following one of two recipes given and then fill the crostata with a filling of your choice.

Crostata fresh out of the oven, still puffed up.

For two days I poured over ideas in recipe books, internet sites, and my own thoughts. I could not come up with a flavor combination or any type of filling I actually wanting at that moment. I thought about a cranberry puree with orange zest, mascarpone cheesecake type filling, or a chocolate hazelnut pastry cream, just to name a few ideas. None of them stuck. I was just not feeling anything sweet at that moment.

Dough lined tart pan.

Let me give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor. I know, I was just as surprised by this revelation as you were. Me, the person whose names is synonymous with sweets, to the point where I am automatically placed under the dessert column for pot lucks, did not want something sweet. After I got over the initial shock, I decided I wanted something savory, but also not just veggies. I wanted savory custard, like a quiche but less egg-y.

Therefore, I created my own recipe for a Savory Dill and Cheddar Custard Crostata. I made a few adaption’s to the provide challenge recipe to account for the savory verses sweet filling. I was delighted with the results. The crust was flaky and delicious and the custard was creamy and satisfying. I would definitely make this again.

First glorious slice.

235g - Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 stick butter/ grated/ super cold
1 large egg & 1 yolk, lightly beaten
Shot of Lemon Juice
3-4 Sprigs of Dill, chopped
Blind baked crust.  Notice the shrinking... I overworked it a tad.

1. Combine flour and salt.

2. Rub in butter until mixture is crumbly. Do not over combine.

3. Create well in the middle of flour mixture and add eggs.

4. Add lemon juice and dill to center of the egg well.

5. Mix wet ingredients into dry with a fork.

6. Flop mixture out onto a floured surface and knead until combine.

7. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour.

8. Remove dough from fridge and roll out into a circle big enough to fill tart pan.

9. Place dough in tart pan, being careful not to stretch it to avoid shrinking in the oven. Trim off the excess dough.

10. Blind bake the crust at 375 degrees- 15 minutes with pie weights/beans and another 15 minutes without the weights until the crust is nice and golden brown. (I should have baked my crust a little longer. So shoot for a shade darker than the pictures of my crust.)

Cheddar cheese in crust awaiting its custard-y mate.


3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups - Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 cup – Grated Cheddar Cheese
4-5 spring of Dill, chopped

Ready for baking...

1. With a whisk beat together eggs and heavy cream.

2. Add salt and dill, whisking until combined.

3. Sprinkle cheese over the cooled crostata crust.

4. Pour egg mixture of over the cheese into the crust. The pan can be filled to almost the top of the crostata crust as the custard does not rise much. (Account for your dexterity in moving a full pie to the oven and any un-levelness in your oven.)

5. Bake the completely assembled crostata for about 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until the center is just set.

... And it was good!

Be sure to check out the other Daring Bakers at


  1. I just love dill and cheddar cheese I'm sure that I would love this tart well done. Don't worry I'm sure you will get your sweetness mojo back soon LOL LOL. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Looks like i'm gonna have to get myself round to yours sharpish! Only a slight technical error - you're on the other side of the pond from me! What a shame because this crostata looks gorgeous and the combination is perfect! And yes once in a while, I myself do prefer something savoury (but sshhh, dont tell anyone!)

  3. Congratulations on your creation! Looks and sounds yummy!!!