Category Archives: Daring Bakers

Crostata Con La Crema


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.

Download the pdf of the recipes here.

Ingredients for the Crostata:

  • 1/2 c. minus 1 tablespoon [105 ml, 100 g, 3 ½ oz] superfine/caster 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

Making pasta frolla by hand:

  1. Whisk together sugar, flour and salt in a bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Add the lemon zest to your flour/butter/egg mixture.
  5. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the solid ingredients, and then use your fingertips.
  6. Knead lightly just until the dough comes together into a ball.
  7. 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.

Making pasta frolla with a food processor:

  1. Put sugar, flour, salt, and lemon zest in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.
  3. Empty food processor’s bowl onto your work surface
  4. See step 3 above and continue as explained in the following steps (minus the lemon zest, which you have already added).

For the tart filling I chose to make a lemon custard much like the filling for a Tarte au Citron but you can let your imagination run away and use almost anything as the filling. I loved the texture of the crostata and will definitely use this recipe again for tart making.

For some very useful tips on the pastry making, look here.


Daring Bakers – Donuts


I joined The Daring Bakers quite some time ago with all good intentions of diligently making the monthly challenge but as everyone knows, life has a habit of getting in the way and then I forgot all about it until this month. I decided to jump on in and see if I can keep up from here on.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious. Download the printable .pdf file with all recipes here.

It seemed that a lot of people were raving about the Alton Brown recipe so I decided to pick that recipe. I have followed a couple of his recipes in the past and they were successful so I had full confidence in this recipe also!

Instead of milk in this recipe I used laban which I believe is similar to buttermilk. It is a Middle Eastern yogurt drink; it seems to me that it is thinned down unflavoured, unsweetened yogurt for drinking. I also increased the sugar to 1/2 cup as 1/4 didn’t seem adequate for sweet doughnuts.

I omitted the nutmeg since I am unsure about whether this spice is Islamically acceptable (search here).

Overall I was very pleased with the results and so were the children. They are very fond of Krispy Kreme donuts but decided that these were actually nicer!

Recipe from the Foodnetwork website:


Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil depends on size of vessel you are frying in – you want three inches of oil (can substitute any flavourless oil used for frying)


Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

(I did all of the above steps in the breadmaker instead)

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole.

Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.


Myself and many other Daring Bakers are particularly grateful to Audax at Audax Artifex for his tips in making the Alton Brown’s doughnuts – check out his post and the information he has provided.

After having looked at the blog posts of fellow Daring Bakers who made this months challenge I loved the idea over at Candied to add orange zest into the dough. When I make brioche I add lemon zest into the dough so I am sure that orange zest would be a delicious addition.

I found it messy filling some of the fried doughnuts with jam/Nutella/lemon curd but Marcellina over at Marcellina in Cucina filled her doughnuts when shaping (before frying) and they turned out perfect.