Sunday, November 28, 2010

Almond, Pear and Cream Cheese Crostata - A Daring Baker's Challenge

This month I was lucky enough to travel along the Danube River from Nuremberg to Budapest on the AMADolce, which  was fabulous! I even got to bake with the pastry chef, Mitch!  
I knew I would be rushed to make the challenge when I returned home from the trip, so I baked it before I left.  but figured I would have plenty of time to write it up when I got back....but life gets in the way and I find myself scrambling on the 27th...the deadline!!!! yikes!!!!!.

I  baked the crust as the challenge was written and made the filling with almonds, cream cheese and pears.  It worked out very well and thank you so much Simona of briciole for hosting this month!

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.

Here is the recipe for my filling, based on an  Epicurious recipe.
  • 1/2 (7-ounce) log almond paste
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
  • 2 small pears, sliced
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam, heated
  • 3 crushed amaretti cookies (Italian macaroons)
Make crust as in the Daring Baker's recipe.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Blend almond paste and 3 tablespoons sugar in processor until finely chopped. Add cream cheese, egg yolk, and vanilla and blend until filling is smooth. Unroll crust on heavy rimmed baking sheet. Spread filling over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange pear slices , in a pattern atop filling.  Brush exposed pears with warm jam. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake crostata until crust is golden brown and pears are tender and slightly browned, about 43 minutes. Sprinkle with crushed amaretti. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dan really liked it and I thought it was very good!  I was a little disappointed that the pears did not show up on top as planned but it was pretty anyhow.

Christmas baking is around the corner....Tell me your favourite  baked item - I would love to hear about it.

Until we bake again....



Audax said...

WOW your crostata looks so beautiful and elegant and the flavour combination sounds delicious well done on this challenge. Your trip sounds so good I hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Mary said...

This looks so delicious--I love almond paste, but have never had it with cream cheese. I must try it, and I bet it would be good with apples and lots of other fruit too. I always end up scrambling with my post, no matter how early I baked, so glad you got this up. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

Finla said...

Anything with pear in baking and i lvoe them and these look so good.

Meredith said...

As a dedicated Sweet Sadies taste tester - I give this a rating of excellent! We loved it

Unknown said...

This combination of flavours sounds fantastic! What a wonderful and to be baking with a pastry chef in Germany! Oh, lucky you! Maybe we will see some of what you learnt! I'd love that!

sweetakery said...

This looks so delicious! love the combination of flavours yumm!!

Simona Carini said...

I agree with previous comments: the combination of ingredients for the filling sounds very interesting.

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