Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Nutella Crostata – A Hell of a Tart {more like a NIGHTMARE!}

Nutella Crostata with Orange Sweet Pastry

Have you ever had a day where you just can’t believe how stupid you’ve been, that you ought to know better and that you feel a complete fool?  Well, I felt like that yesterday over pastry and got into such bad form that it carried forward into today.  Not good! Here’s what happened…

My eldest loves Nutella and when I first enjoyed this tart at my cousin’s, made by her lovely Italian husband, I was determined to make one myself for Son No. 1 {the fact that he hates pastry is a mere inconvenience in my baking quest}.  A Nutella Crostata is exactly what it means, a pastry tart shell filled with Nutella and finished with a lattice layer on the top then baked until golden.  Easy you say… eh, NOOOO!

First of all, the recipe.  There are oodles out there in the land of the Internet with differing ingredients and differing results.  I, of course, determined to make mine with a sweet pastry shell with added orange zest to compliment the chocolate {especially since I’m a big fan of Terry’s Chocolate Orange} and orange juice instead of water.  The first recipe I used was adapted from the GBBO book, ‘How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom’ as after all, I certainly didn’t want a soggy mess.  Using my shiny new mixer, I made the pastry and duly left it in the fridge for a couple of hours only to find it rock solid when I came to use it.  That was the first foolish step on the road to crostata hell.

Foolish step #2: not chilling the tart.
Foolish step #3: blind baking at 200oC.  None of the recipes for Nutella Crostata mentioned blind baking but who am I to not follow a recipe!!
Foolish step #4: putting Nutella into a warm tart shell where it immediately melted.
Foolish step #5: I can’t even bring myself to describe what happened here.

I opened the bin and offered my disastrous and bad-mood-making effort to the decaying mess below.

Today being a new day, I decided to attempt the Nutella Crostata again.  This tart was not going to defeat me, no sir, no way! This time I followed the sweet pastry recipe from Odlums adding the zest of an orange and orange juice instead of the cold water stated in the recipe.  I made the pastry using my 16 year old food processor and what a difference!  This was a lovely light pastry that bound well when kneaded.

With lessons learnt from yesterday, I left the pastry to chill for 30 minutes then rolled it out and lined my tart tin.  I rolled it so thin, I could hear Mary Berry’s voice in my head saying “A lovely thin pastry…”  Yes, I was pretty pleased with myself so far.  I then spread about 500g of Nutella in the raw shell, put the lattice on the top and chilled the assembled tart for about two hours.  Egg-washed and baked at 170oC for 20 minutes, the tart came out of the oven looking all lovely.  A dusting of icing sugar and the Crostata was done! Or so I thought…

I left the tart to cool for 10 minutes before moving it to a plate. A slice revealed that the pastry was not fully cooked underneath.  Son 1 is not mad about it {well, he doesn’t like pastry!} but Son 2 who doesn’t eat let alone eat pastry LOVES it!  RESULT!!  The fact that Son 2 ran off to get me the GBBO How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom book is neither here nor there…!

Nutella Tart with Orange Sweet Pastry

Any lessons from today? But of course!

Lesson #1: place a baking sheet to heat in the oven and place the tart on that so the bottom crisps up a bit better.
Lesson #2: GET THE RIGHT RECIPE {now procured and it’s a MILLION miles from any I’ve seen on the Internet involving above all things, yeast}.
Lesson #3: not really a lesson but the Odlums pastry is actually really good and is ideal for tarts; I’ll be using my adaptation for mince pies in the coming festive season!

Attempt #3 will take place later in the week once this tart is consumed!  But in comparison to yesterday, today had a very happy ending!

Anyone else had a nightmare time baking this tart? My condolences and heartfelt sympathy, I’m there with you, pal! If yours was a success, I need to hear from you – all advice and suggestions are most welcome and indeed, necessary!!!

Xx Paula

Update 20th Nov.  On re-reading the recipe I’ll be using for attempt #3, I checked with the author and the yeast is in fact baking powder.  The nuances of language…!

9 comments on “Nutella Crostata – A Hell of a Tart {more like a NIGHTMARE!}

  1. thiswasdinner
    November 19, 2013

    I had a sweet pastry disaster a couple of weeks ago. I know I need to try it again…

    It still looks lovely but good luck with #3.

    • Thanks Lisa! It tastes great despite everything! #3 will be interesting as I didn’t expect yeast to be an ingredient! It’s a much longer recipe but I’m determined to try it and see if I can replicate it. On the other hand, I could just stick with this one and bake the case blind, let it cool completely and not bother with the pastry lattice, just go for chopped hazelnuts and more orange zest on the top. What do you think?

      • thiswasdinner
        November 19, 2013

        It sounds delicious. I must admit I wouldn’t expect yeast either. The lattice does make it look pretty but I love hazelnuts so that sounds good too. I’m more cook than baker though so not your expert. I love your determination though.

      • More of a cook myself too, Lisa as I haven’t baked in years! I used to be good at pastry but am only getting into making it again now. I prefer sponges to be honest. I’ll give the hazelnuts a go for sure {maybe in a lattice effect} as I love them too. Thanks and have a nice day! Xx Paula

      • thiswasdinner
        November 19, 2013

        You too x

  2. anna @ annamayeveryday
    November 22, 2013

    I love that you shared this, always reassuring to know I am not the only one who has disasters! Pastry can be a tricky customer, sometimes I make it and it rolls out a dream, lines the tin in a cooperative fashion and cooks to a crisp based delight. Other times, the same recipe can make tough crumbly pastry, reluctant to stick together, that then falls apart in the tin. I guess that is life!

    • Thanks Anna! I know exactly what you mean! I think pastry is one of the toughest to make and make well! And like life, you just have to keep trying ;). Hope you’re keeping well. Xx Paula

  3. MiaMusings
    December 16, 2013

    Its a delicious blog….love the recipes. Although not much of a dessert person, i am inspired to try a few of your yummy recipes 🙂

    • Thanks Mia! I have to say that I’m more of a savoury person but am determined to get better at baking. I was great in my teens but lost the knack as time past. Do give the recipes a try. I’m particularly fond of Richard Bertinet’s recipes I have to say and the man is always available on twitter to help when things go awry!
      Xx Paula

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2013 by in Baking, Dessert and tagged , , , , , , .

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