I’ve been making this very famous, classic Italian dessert for years. It is considered a grandma’s recipe, but in my case, since my grandma wasn’t a baker, it was my mom’s recipe. The first time I made it, I was still a teenager and wanted to surprise my mom, baking one of her and my dad’s favorite. I remember the look on their faces before, at the look of the crostata, and after the first bite, when they were licking their lips and sweeping the crumbles that had fallen on their clothes.
I’ve made it so many times, for various family occasions, for friends’ parties or to bring to work to share with my coworkers. It is always a hit. There are many different versions: with butter, with oil, without eggs, with different kind of jams, with Nutella, with ricotta and chocolate, with ricotta and jam, custard and fresh fruit, and a few more.
My favorite is the classic jam crostata and I usually use a dark jam (plum, blackberry, raspberry). Although, I’ve also made a version with a cocoa pastry dough and chestnut jam.
When doing the dough for my crostata, which is kind of shortbread dough, I do not use an electric mixer. 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.
Rolling the pastry dough in between two sheets of parchment paper helps a lot!
Can you see the pieces of butter in the dough? That is what gives the dough that perfect crunch when cooked.
I am using a jar of my homemade Plum Jam, its tanginess the ideal balance to the sweetness of the shortbread pastry.
The pastry is crunchy and soft at the same time, the lemon zest in the dough is evident from the very first bite, the not too sweet jam is the best compliment. Altogether, the most pleasurable symphony.
- 300 gr (2 cups) flour 00 (or all purpose)
- 2 eggs, organic free range
- 90 gr butter, cold, cubed
- 100 gr (1/3 cup) organic sugar (or white granulated sugar)
- 1 lemon, the zest
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 medium jam jar (whatever flavour you may like, I used my homemade plum jam)
- Start by preparing the pastry dough (which is similar to a shortbread pastry):
- On a work surface place the flour making a hole in the middle and add the sugar, butter cubed, eggs, lemon zest and baking powder.
- Mix the ingredients quickly working the dough with your fingertips. Do not overwork so as not to warm the butter, but just until it forms a ball.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least half an hour.
- After that time, remove the pastry dough from the fridge, set aside less than a 1/4 of the dough and roll out the rest on parchment paper to about 4 mm thick. Use parchment also on the top to prevent the dough to stick to the rolling pin.
- Place the parchment with the dough into a tart pan, cut excessive dough on the edges (add it to the 1/4 that you have already set aside) and then lay the jam. I used my homemade plum jam.
- With a pastry cutter (or a ravioli cutter with a zig-zag wheel), cut 1/4 inch strips of pastry and lay them on the layer of jam, forming a diamond lattice pattern (I prefer a wide pattern since I like to taste more of the jam, but you can do as you most please).
- With a fork seal the edges of the pastry.
- Bake the jam crostata at 180°C (350°F) for about 35-40 minutes.
- Allow to cool and serve.
The prep time includes the resting of the dough in the fridge.