Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dare to Bake: Thankful for Crostata


It has been a while since a Daring Baker post has made it onto my blog. Between moving across the country, finding a job, finding housing, moving across town, and just having a reliable and familiar kitchen, I have saqdly missed the last three challenges. But never fear - I am back!

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.

As usual, I forged my own path, blatantly ignoring the eggs and butter abundant in this recipe. I am returning to gluten-freeness for a while, in hopes that I will feel better, so this recipe is both GF and Vegan! It is also very much in the Thanksgiving spirit ... with a bit of Asian flair with a foreign winter squash (apparently, they do exist!).

The apples I chose to use are an heirloom variety from the farmstand at which I volunteer a couple of times a month. Black Twigs have a rich, deep red skin and beautiful creamy flesh. They also seem to be slightly more resistant to the pest that has ravaged crops along the Eastern seaboard this year: the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). Yes, before indulging your sweet tooth, I want to spend a few lines on the dangers of non-native species.

First introduced from Asia, probably via imported plans/soil, the BMSB has grown increasingly detrimental to tree fruit and other crops since the mid-1990's. The insect has decimated organic fruit, and caused non-organic growers to increase their pesticide use (and still impacted their harvests). Why are invasive species so much more worrisome than other pests? Unlike our native crop munchers, exotic species generally don't have their natural predators or controls in place in their new environment. This makes it hard to manage the infestation and near impossible to eradicate them! Luckily, some handy farmers are still able to produce fruit, and I can still produce tarts!
Kabocha – Apple Crostata (GF, VG)

Crust
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup brazil nuts, ground
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs oil
1 tbs pumpkin butter
water, as needed

Filling
1 small kabocha squash
3 medium tart apples (I used Black Twigs)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tbs molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 oz silken tofu

1. Start by roasting the quartered squash and apples in a cover pan in a 375F oven, for about 45 minutes until very tender.

2. Meanwhile, combine rice and tapioca flours, sugar, salt, and finely-ground Brazil nuts. Add oil, pumpkin butter, and enough water to form a dough ball that is not too sticky. You can try to roll this out to 1/4 thickness, but it may not stick together too well. As such, I pressed the crust into two mini tart pans and a dessert cup.

3. After squash and apples are done baking, lower over to 325F and prebake pie crust for 7 minutes.

4. Food-process apple and squash flesh (not skin) with silken tofu, sugar, molasses, and spices. Fill tart shells. Bake 20-30 minutes, until filling is set. Remove and allow to cool. Enjoy!

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Am glad you are back with this gorgeous looking tart.

Simona said...

A very interesting combination of ingredients for your filling. I don't think I have ever tasted Black Twig apples.