I've never made pastry in a food processor before - but then - I've never made Pasta Frolla before....Pasta Frolla is like a French sweet tart pastry except that it's the basic pastry of Italian baking - and it's very different from what I usually make for pastry dough. For starters - it's sweet and not at all flaky and it sounded like the perfect pastry for the strawberry-rhubarb crostata that I wanted to make....never mind that I've never ever seen a recipe for strawberry-rhubarb crostata...could it be that the strawberry and rhubarb is too runny and the pastry would be too soggy? Hmmm, that thought did cross my mind...but then, soggy pastry was not enough of a deterrent...I figured that I would use arrowroot in the filling and that would soak up any runniness without leaving it gummy - at least, that's what Baking Illustrated told me!
And really, why wouldn't a strawberry-rhubarb crostata work? I had to try - the worst thing that could happen would be the pastry would crumble or the filling would soak through - but then the filling would still be good so all would not be lost - I could serve that up to the mister with a little whipped cream on top and he'd be in heaven!
So I made the Pasta Frolla in the food processor - processing just until the dough held together in a ball - kneaded it a little and then put it into the fridge for a few hours to chill. On to the rhubarb - my grandma used to grow rhubarb next to her back door - I loved to pick it and chew on it for hours - made my hands red and almost always gave me a tummy ache. You only need 6 stalks of rhubarb - the fresher the better. And Baking Illustrated was right about the arrowroot - it DID soak up the moisture and the crostata looked as beautiful coming out as it did going in!
Doesn't this just say S P R I N G !!! Time for True Confession....I'm not a fan of strawberries and rhubarb mixed together....this was a request from the boy - who surprised me when he said the only pie he EVER eats is strawberry-rhubarb....I mean, I've been that boy's mom his entire life and I've never heard such blasphemy! What about MY chocolate cream pie? Or MY banana cream pie? Or MY pumpkin-cream-cheese-pie??? I'm going to ground that boy. So, that's why I made this...and it worked and it's great.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crostata - Inspired from Baking Illustrated
Pasta Frolla Recipe (from Baking Illustrated)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
grated zest of 1 lemon
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Whisk egg, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of the water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about seven 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until all the liquid ingredients are incorporated. Squeeze a handful of the dough; if it form a moist ball, no more water is necessary. If the mixture is crumbly and dry, add 1 more tablespoon of water and process just until incorporated. Remove the dough from the food processor and transfer it to a large bowl. Gently knead until cohesive, about 30 seconds. Shape the dough into a 5-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling - adapted from Baking Illustrated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 stalks rhubarb, ends trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons arrowroot
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Whipped Cream for serving - optional
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the rhubarb and 1/4 cup of the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb has shed most of its liquid but is still firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and refrigerate until cool.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together, 3/4 cup of sugar, arrowroot and salt. Add in the strawberries and cooled rhubarb, vanilla and orange zest. Stir well until all if combined.
Roll out the Pasta Frolla on a floured board to about a 12-inch circle. Roll over the rolling pin and carefully lift and place on a cookie sheet. Spoon the strawberry mixture on top of the dough - being careful to leave about 2 inches all around the outside edge. Pile the fruit up in the center. Fold the outside edges up and around the fruit - loosely, pinching to secure. Brush the top of the crust with the egg white and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top.
Bake in 425 degree oven for 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices bubble on top. Cool the crostata on a wire rack until room temperature, before serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled, topped with whipped cream, or not. Keep in refrigerator.
(The crostata did leak a little - as you can see below - but the crust was not soggy. However, I did not try to lift the thing off the cookie sheet to a pretty plate - I didn't want to push my luck.)