When we were in Tuscany over the Summer I learned how to make the pasta frolla which is a basic Italian pie crust.
You will see many desserts with the name Crostata in Italy. They are filled with jam and layered with fruit and baked all together.
With this pasta frolla dough I was able to make a fruit tart also known as Crostata di Frutta that is baked blind (meaning without a filling) and then filled afterwards with a whipped cream custard also called a crema pasticcera.
I made this one for my son’s birthday. He doesn’t like cake, icing or anything overly sweet. He would rather have a pie with jam or some sort of baked treat.
For the last couple of birthdays Adrian likes me to make the dessert for him, which is an honor for me! One year it was peanut butter muffins with Nutella icing.
This year the request was for a dessert we had while visiting Italy over the summer. From my conversations with Flavia from Villia Baggine I was able to pull it together for his 10th birthday.
For me the challenging part is the dough, but if you follow this recipe you will be fine.
You will need to bake the crust first. After you mold it to your pan take a fork and pork holes along the bottom so it doesn’t puff up.
I also like to put parchment paper on top of the crust and use beans to hold it place. This helps to insure that your pie crust doesn’t try to rise in the middle where your filling is going.
For the filling I made a vanilla custard with a fresh whipped cream to lighten it up. You fold the whipped cream into the custard and this becomes the mixture that you use to fill the pie crust.
At this point you can decorate it with what sounds good to you. I used raspberries and blueberries and for garnish I sprinkled over the top edible flowers. It was really a sight to see!
For the Itailan Pie Crust: Pasta Frolla
2 Cups (500 grams) of white flour
1 Cup (250 grams) of unsalted butter cubed at room temperature
1/3 cup (80 grams) of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon of salt
What you will need for the Custard
1 cup plus 2 tbsp of Milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of flour
For the Fresh Whipped Cream
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
3 tsp of vanilla
1. In a large bowl cream together the sugar with the egg yolks, next add unsalted butter (cubed at room temperature).
Note: It will become a yellow gooey mixture
2. Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt.
3. Using a fork start to fold in the flour at a certain point you can use your hands and form a round ball.
4. Using your hands knead the dough gently with your fingertips.
5. Wrap the ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, otherwise you can use it the next day.
6. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured counter into a circle, take the pastry and lay it inside a 9″ tart pan.
7. Next take the excess of the pastry and roll into a rope. Place it around the edges of the tart pan pressing down to make an edge.
8. With a fork poke holes at the bottom of the pan, and place parchment with some beans or pie weights on top.
9. Bake at 375 Degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes Note: If you need more time keep an eye on it in increments of 3 minutes until the dough is baked.
For the Custard
1. In a bowl mix sugar, flour and the egg yolks until smooth.
2. In a sauce pan bring the milk to a boil.
3. Whisk in the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan.
4. Continue to whisk while bringing it to a boil.
5. Simmer for 2 minutes stirring until it becomes smooth and thick.
6. Stir in the vanilla extract.
7. Pour into a bowl and press plastic or wax paper to the surface. Let it cool before you fold in the whipped cream.
For the Fresh Whipped Cream
1. Add heavy whipping cream into a bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer
2. Begin to whip the cream on high until peaks begin to form
3. If you are using a hand mixer, rotate the mixer around the bowl
4. Add 3 tsp of vanilla
5. Add 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
6. Continue whipping until cream near firm
For the Filling: Combine the Custard with Whipped Cream
Once your custard is cooled off in the refrigerator you can take the whipped cream and slowly add it to the custard. Put back in the fridge until your pie crust is cooled down from baking and ready to be filled.
Assemble the Crostata di Frutta!
1. Let your pie crust cool down before you add the filling.
2. Once it is cool spoon in the filling and smooth right below the top of the crust.
3. Next you can top with fruit like berries and create a design.
4. I like garnished mine with edible flowers.
Keywords: Desserts, Italian Dishes, Tarts, Fruit Tarts