Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pecan-Orange Frangipane Crostata with Candied Cranberries


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.


We were given a specific recipe for pasta frolla, but we were otherwise allowed to chose our flavors and fillings.

Inspired by the season, I decided to add a pinch of cinnamon to the dough to provide a slight spiciness to counter the filling.  I wanted the filling to be a beautiful, sweet frangipane, created with toasted pecans and a bit of orange zest.


Then, to add another layer of flavor to the dessert, I candied cranberries.  The taste of this extra component was wonderful and the beautiful red liquid added an extraordinary contrast on the plate.


The end result was an elegant take on the flavors of fall.  The depth of the colors on the plate were almost as perfect as the first, sweetly tart bite of the crostata.


Pecan-Orange Frangipane Crostata with Candied Cranberries
makes one 9-inch tart
pasta frolla adapted from Daring Baker's Challenge, November 2010
frangipane adapted from Smitten Kitchen
candied cranberreis from Food & Wine, November 2010

Pasta Frolla [Note: this recipe will yield enough dough for 2 8-inch tarts]
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Pecan-Orange Frangipane
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Candied Cranberries
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups water

Preparation Instructions
Make the Pasta Frolla: Whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Rub or cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the mounded flour and butter mixture and pour in the beaten eggs. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, 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 and up to overnight.

Make the Pecan-Orange Frangipane: Finely grind pecans and flour in processor. Mix in 2/3 cup sugar, then butter and orange zest. Blend until smooth. Mix in egg and egg white. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Make the Candied Cranberries: Put the cranberries in a large heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the syrup over the cranberries and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook undisturbed over very low heat until the syrup is rosy and the cranberries are tender but not broken down, about 45 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the cranberries cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled. Can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. [Note: To create a thick sauce, strain candied cranberries from liquid.  Reduce liquid over medium-low heat until desired consistancy.

Assemble the Crust: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.  Chill the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

Par Bake the Crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Fill tart with pie weights or beans, pressing down to create a tight, even layer. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for about 20 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with your hand. Bake the crust about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Bake the Crostata: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecan filling evenly in par baked tart crust. Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

To Serve: Cut tart into wedges and serve with candied cranberries.


  1. Wow. Really stunning and sounds delicious. Well done

  2. I just all the very colourful photos and the final crostata looks and sounds stunning and I love the picture of the blind-baked shell it is perfect superb work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. Oh wonderful, good for you, looks and sounds stunning.

  4. It makes an elegant presentation and looks absolutley delicious.

  5. I just devoured your photos. Great choice of filling and pairing.

  6. Thank you all for your very sweet words! Simona - thank you for creating such a wonderful challenge for November!

  7. amazing recipe! And clear, understandable directions. Thanks.


Site Design By Designer Blogs