Crostata (Italian Jam Tart). A buttery, crumbly and tender pastry dough, with a lovely lemon fragrance, hosts a homemade jam filling secured by a lattice top. Certainly, crostata is a crowd-pleaser for kids and grown-ups, perfect for dessert, snack and, why not, breakfast. Easy to make without a stand mixer, try it now and bring to the table an iconic Italian dessert!
Song of the day: "Hey, Soul Sister" - Train
This delectable jam tart has all the flavors of my childhood. Indeed, its simple yet intriguing flavor captivates me every time and brings me back to my roots. In Italy, there is no bakery and pastry shop that doesn't have crostata on display. Usually, with two different kinds of jam, a light one (apricot), and a dark one (amarena cherry). However, my favorite jams to use have always been the dark ones, less sweet and a bit tangier than their lighter counterparts. Here, I am using a homemade blackberry jam, perfect compliment to the buttery pastry.
[This post was first published on March 5, 2015. It has been updated for photos and writing.]
All in all, I don't think there is a recipe that I’ve done as many times as I've done crostata. It is the dessert I've prepared for many Sunday lunches, family occasions, friends’ parties, or to bring to work to share with my coworkers. Furthermore, it never disappoints in its multiple variations.
To demonstrate its versatility, other than this classic and evergreen Crostata di marmellata (Jam Tart), here is a list of the different crostate I make (so many!):
- Crostata Ricotta e Marmellata di Visciole (Ricotta and Sour Cherry Crostata), a Roman classic
- Crostata Ricotta e Cioccolato (Ricotta and Chocolate Tart), another Roman classic
- Ricotta & Apricot Jam Crostata
- Crostata Mele e Crema (Apple and Pastry Cream Crostata)
- Double Chocolate Cherry Crostata, with an olive oil cocoa short pastry
- Quince Jam Tart (Crostata con Marmellata di Mele Cotogne) with an olive oil pastry dough
- Chocolate Crostata with Chestnut Jam, with a butter cocoa pastry dough
- Crostata with Homemade Haskap Jam, with complimentary haskap jam recipe
- Crostata di frutta con crema al limone (Fresh Fruit Tart with Lemon Custard)
- Crostatine alla Nutella (Nutella Tartlets)
- Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Ricotta Crostata, the Italian answer to Pumpkin Pie
- Crostata agli Asparagi (Egg Asparagus Tart), a savory version made during Easter time in Italy
The ingredients for the pastry dough
- flour type 00 (or unbleached all-purpose or cake flour)
- eggs, organic free-range, at room temperature
- butter, cold
- sugar (granulated or cane sugar)
- lemon zest, from an organic lemon
- baking powder (just a teaspoon), it makes the pastry a little softer, still crumbly but less "short"
In order to make the dough, I normally do not use a stand mixer, instead, I knead by hand paying attention not to warm up the butter. But you can use a food processor or a stand mixer, of course, to speed up the times.
Making the dough - step 1
- Firstly, on a work surface place the flour making a hole in the middle and add the sugar, the cubed butter, eggs, lemon zest, and baking powder.
- Secondly, mix the ingredients quickly with a fork (or a bench scraper).
- Thirdly, start working the dough with your fingertips.
- Fourthly, knead it lightly but do not overwork so as not to warm up the butter too much.
- As shown above, work it just until it binds together, then shape it into a ball.
- Lastly wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Rolling the dough - step 2
- After the resting time in the fridge, take out and set aside about a quarter of the dough for the lattice. On a floured board and with a floured rolling pin, start rolling out the dough. You could also roll it in between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Roll it to about 4 mm thickness.
- Next, place the rolled dough into a tart pan, pressing the bottom and up the sides, patching any holes that might occur, and trimming the excess dough on the top edge (add it to the dough that you have already set aside).
- Now, prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork.
Assembling the crostata - step 3
- Afterward, spread the jam evenly on the surface. You can use any type of jam, I used homemade blackberry jam.
- Then, with a pastry cutter (or a ravioli cutter with a zig-zag wheel), cut ¼ inch strips of pastry.
- Using a spatula to lift the strips, start placing them cross wide on the jam, forming a diamond lattice pattern.
- Re-roll the scraps of dough and cut more strips to cover the surface of the crostata, then, with a fork, seal the edges of the pastry (you can also use leftover pastry to make a nice border all around).
- Finally, bake the jam crostata in the preheated oven (180°C/350°F) for about 35 minutes.
The taste test
Not only is the pastry crumbly and tender, but the flavors are well-balanced and create the most pleasurable symphony. It's not too sweet, with a lovely buttery flavor and a citrus undertone, this jam crostata is a crowd-pleaser, for kids and grown-ups alike, for dessert, snack, and why not, breakfast. After all, there is a jam, right?
Song of the day: "Hey, Soul Sister" - TrainPrint