Daring Bakers November challenge: Crostata filled with persimmon mousse and raspberry jam

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.

Crostata (tart) is an Italian dessert. The base of a crostata is pasta frolla(or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frollais versatile: it provides the base to make crostata with fruit preserves, pastry cream, fresh fruit,ricotta, and other ingredients, and, by itself, it makes very nice cookies.

Tarte should be a piece of cake for me, made them a dozen times, you can find them all here. I wasn't so fond of the idea of a whole sweet jam filling*, so I rather preferred blind baking and adding a filling afterwards. There are masses of possibilities for filling, I once for example made an apple cinnamon ice cream filling and topped it with marzipan. But I was looking for something new. I remembered a dessert recipe from one of my friends I liked very much. It's an apple mousse which is topped with a chocolate mousse or elderberry sauce. Apple seemed a little bit to plain so wanted something more fancy. Because I never used persimmons before I decided to gor for a persimmon-raspberry combination. The result was really smooth and tasty but took a lot of time (which involved a lot of waiting but was worth it).

* In Austria such a tarte with jam filling and dough stripes on top for decoration is called 'Linzer Torte'.

Crostata filled with persimmon mousse and raspberry jam

 Pasta frolla
  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine sugar or a scant 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 (you could also use vanilla sugar as an option)
  • 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten in a small bowl
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl. 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. 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). Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture. 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. You can refrigerate the dough overnight.
Baking your crostata: Preheat the oven to 350ºF [180ºC/gas mark 4]. Roll out a batch of the pasta frollaand cover the base of the tart pan.a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil large enough to cover the bottom of the crust and extend out a bit over the edges of the pan. You can use pie weights or dry beans to blind bake. Place whatever weight you're using directly on the parchment paper or aluminum foil in an even layer. Place theshell in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper and continue baking the crostata shell until the border is light golden, about 5 minutes (watch carefully to avoid over-baking, which results in a hard shell). In the absence of weight, the crust may rise in the middle: if that occurs, gently push it back down with the back of a spoon. Remove from the oven and let the crostata shell cool completely before proceeding. If you use a tart pan with removable bottom, release the base from the fluted tart ring, then slide the cooled shell on a serving plate for filling. (Note: If you've used a cake pan or pie plate, use a bit of care in taking the shell out of the baking vessel.)

Persimmon mousse & raspberry topping
  • 3 ripe persimmons
  • 1 tablespoon maracuja sirup
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 10 g of sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 5 sheets of gelatine
  • about 200g raspberry jam (without seeds) for the topping
Peel the persimmons and puree them until smooth, blend with the maracuja sirup. Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water until soft, then squeeze the excess water. Beat the egg white and yolks with the sugar in a bowl until creamy (the eggs should have room temperature). Warm the gelatine until dissolved and mix it with the egg-sugar-mixture. Fold in the pureed persimmons. Beat the cream until stiff peaks appear, and fold it into the mixture too. Fill the mousse into your pasta frolla and let ist cool into the refridgerator for at least 4 hours (or better overnight) til the mousse does have a solid consistency. For the topping, warm the jam into a bowl until fluid - don't boil or warm it to much, otherwise you'll melt the mousse. Spread on top into an even layer. Let the tarte rest another hour.

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