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Crostata with lattice top and heart cutouts on a grey linen apron.

Crostata di Marmellata (Authentic Italian Jam Tart w/Video)

Crostata di Marmellata is one of our favorite Italian desserts to eat here in Italy and lucky for us, you can find them just about anywhere! There are two components in this recipe for crostata:pasta frolla’ (a forgiving easy-to-make rich and crumbly shortcrust pastry) and jam. But don’t let the simplicity of this jam tart recipe fool you — it’s delicious!  I’ve used cherry marmellata for this cherry crostata recipe, but any jam will do.

In this post, you’ll find crostata step-by-step photos, a short how-to-make crostata video, and tips for how to make the best jam tart below.

What is Crostata (Italian Jam Tart)?

Jam tarts (or ‘Italian crostate’) are one of the most popular desserts found across Italy.  Every pastry shop, restaurant, trattoria, grocery store, nonna, and Zia has a recipe. It’s considered to be a rustic dessert because you don’t need many ingredients to make it and it doesn’t need to look pretty to taste amazing — and it’s deceptively delicious.

The best Italian crostata is made with sweet jam (homemade is great, but not mandatory) and a soft Italian shortcrust pastry dough that you can easily cut through using a fork. It’s not common in Italy to find crostate with a crispy (pie-like) crust. In fact, we’ve never eaten crostata with a crispy crust, but this is the closest thing to an Italian pie recipe you’ll find here. Take a look at the photos below to see what a real crostata in Italy looks like — you can see we’ve definitely eaten our fair share!

How to Pronounce Crostata

Crostata in English literally means ‘tart’.  And the crostata pronunciation sounds like ‘croh-stahta’ or ‘crow-stah-ta’. Crostata with an ‘a’ at the end means one single jam tart. While the ‘crostate’ with an ‘e’ at the end is the plural form of crostata and means you’re talking about more than one crostata.

Traditional Crostata Flavors You’ll Find in Italy

The most common crostata flavor you will find in Italy is Apricot (albicoccia), but other common crostata varieties include Raspberry crostata (lampone), Cherry crostata , (ciliega), warm Apple crostata (mele), Nutella crostata, strawberry crostata (fragola), chocolate crostata, and even Plum crostata (prugna). But don’t let these delicious flavors limit you!

Branch out with more unusual crostata recipes like my strawberry cheesecake crostata, caramel apple crostata (perfect fall dessert), apple cranberry crostata, blackberry crostata, fig crostata, and strawberry-rhubarb crostata.

Why We Love This Authentic Italian Crostata Recipe

  • It’s one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make
  • It tastes just like what you buy here in Italy
  • Pasta frolla shortcrust dough is ready in minutes (no cutting the fat into the flour required)
  • There are just 9 ingredients in this crostata (and that includes salt)
  • Easy kid-friendly dessert recipe
  • This pasta frolla (shortcrust) recipe is really easy to roll and cut
  • Crostata can be meal prepped ahead and refrigerated or frozen

What is Italian Pasta Frolla (aka Crostata Crust)?

Pasta frolla (aka crostata dough) is a rich and crumbly sweet shortcrust pastry dough that’s made with 00 flour, sugar, egg, egg yolks, baking powder, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt). It can be soft (as in this recipe) or not as soft depending on the different desserts it’s being used for.

It’s made in just minutes using a stand mixer, handheld mixer, or food processor which is why some people refer to it as ‘stand mixer pie crust’. You can substitute all-purpose flour or cake flour for the 00 flour in this pasta frolla recipe.

Italy’s pasta frolla is similar to France’s pâte sucrée but is more cookie-like in texture and it’s rolled out thicker than French tartelettes too. It’s important to refrigerate crostata dough so that it can firm up which makes it really easy to roll out.

The great thing about pasta frolla — it doesn’t break when you’re trying to roll it out which is what makes it a great beginner pastry dough (even for kids). You can even your kids press this dough into the tart pan instead of rolling it out and it will still yield delicious results they can be proud of.

How to Use Italian Shortcrust Pastry and Great Fillings For It

The fillings for pasta frolla and the ways to use this sweet Italian pastry dough are endless! Shortcrust pastry can be filled with just about anything from Nutella to homemade strawberry jam, sweetened ricotta, and even pastry cream topped with fruit to make ‘crostata di frutta’ (fresh fruit crostata).

You can even use pasta frolla dough to make jam tart cookies (see below) or to make the best dessert pizza dough or apple strudel.

Crostata Ingredients

Making great Italian crostata at home is easy and uses the most basic pantry ingredients. I suggest using Italian 00 flour because it has a finer texture than all-purpose flour which creates a nicely-textured shortcrust pastry, but cake flour also works well and even all-purpose can be used. I also recommend using a scale to weigh the ingredients if you have one.

  • Italian 00 flour (sub all-purpose or cake flour)
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • egg/egg yolk
  • pure vanilla extract
  • lemon zest
  • fruit jam of your choice (cherry in this post)

How to Make Crostata (Crostata Italiana)

Homemade crostata can be made in just about any kind of shallow baking pan (even a pie plate) or without any baking pan at all! If you want to make a freeform rustic crostata (see photo down below) it’s even quicker to pull together (check out the recipe notes for instructions)! Use whatever you’ve got — even make a cast iron crostata.   You can find the full instructions below in the recipe card. 

  1. Butter and flour a tart pan.
  2. Measure and whisk the dry ingredients. 
  3. Make the pasta frolla shortcrust and refrigerate it.
  4. Roll out the crostata bottom layer, add it to the tart pan, and fill it with jam.
  5. Roll and cut the lattice top and heart cutouts. 
  6. Assemble the crostata. 
  7. Bake the crostata.

Crostata di Marmellata Recipe step-by-step photos

Crostata Troubleshooting (Helpful Tips & Techniques)

This Italian dessert is incredibly easy to make, but I’ve included my best tips below to make it even easier.

  • Make sure the dough is completely chilled before rolling it out or it will be difficult because this is a soft dough.

  • If you have kiddos who are small but want to help, let them press in the dough instead of rolling it out, just be sure to chill the filled tart pan for at least 2 hours before filling it and baking it.

  • If you want a “perfect-looking” crostata, place the fully assembled crostata back into the fridge for at least 20 minutes before baking (and even up to 6 hours). This will make sure the edges of the lattice top stay “clean” while baking. I baked my crostata immediately after assembling and while it doesn’t have perfectly “clean-cut” edges, it’s still pretty. You decide based on your schedule and desired look.

  • Do not be tempted to add more than the amount of jam called for. You can add 1 cup for a slightly less jammy crostata, or 1 1/2 cups for a little more fruit flavor in every bite. But adding 2 cups or more jam can result in the jam bubbling up and out of the tart like hot lava as it bakes (believe me, I’ve done it before).

  • Don’t be tempted to skip using the lemon zest in the pasta frolla. This is part of what gives crostata its authentic Italian taste (it’s so good). The dough is delicious without the zest, but it won’t be a real Italian tart without it.

  • If the dough gets too soft as you’re rolling it out, pop it back into the fridge for 20 minutes or so to help firm it back up, and then continue.

  • Don’t be afraid to use extra flour on the work surface and the rolling pin as needed to help keep the pastry from sticking as you roll.

  • Italian 00 flour is what’s used for authentic pasta frolla, but you can substitute all-purpose or cake flour.

When to Eat Crostata

Here in Italy, crostata di marmellata is typically eaten for merenda (which is an afternoon snack usually taken sometime around 4pm), as an after-dinner dessert, or for breakfast with espresso.

How to Store Jam Tarts (Crostate di Marmellata)

Crostata never lasts long at our house, but if you have any leftovers, here is the best way to store homemade jam tarts:

  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 days if desired as long as it’s a fairly cool environment, otherwise refrigerate it.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days wrapped well, or in an airtight container so it doesn’t absorb odors from strong ingredients.
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 or 4 months wrapped very well in sustainable cling film and placed in an airtight container or freezer bag. You may defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or for a few hours at room temperature with all of the wrappings completely removed first (which will keep it from having condensation as it thaws).

Looking for More Crostata Recipes?

Here are a couple of our favorite crostatas you may want to try next

Looking for More Italian Dessert Recipes?

Here are a few of our favorite authentic Italian desserts to make —  everything from classic vanilla bean panna cotta to real-deal Sicilian cannoli. These recipes are

Let’s get started!

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a golden brown lattice-topped cherry crostata di marmellata with hearts

Authentic Italian Crostata (Jam Tart)


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Crostata di Marmellata is one of my favorite simple Italian desserts because it tastes great and it’s easy to make (even for beginner bakers). Don’t let the simplicity of this jam tart recipe fool you — it’s so delicious! Plus, you can fill it with any flavored jam or even Nutella.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups Italian 00 flour (sub all-purpose or cake flour) (300g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (3g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (2g)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (165g)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (130g)
  • 1 large egg (50g)
  • 2 large egg yolks (40 to 45g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (6g)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of jam (315 to 500g)*see note below
  • sugar for sprinkling over the top (optional but recommended)


Instructions

Homemade crostata can be made in a tart pan or other shallow baking pans with or without removable bottoms. They can even be made using a regular pie tin if you don’t own a tart pan. For this post, I’ve used an 11-inch (28cm) tart pan without a removable bottom. If you use a 9 or 10-inch tart pan, you can make the bottom crust slightly thicker, or use the excess dough to make little cookies.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C & prepare a 9 to 11-inch (23-28cm) tart pan. Butter the tart pan using your hands or pastry brush being sure to get into all the crevices. Add about 1/4 cup of flour to the pan and tap it around to cover the entire surface with flour. Remove any excess flour and set aside. 
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk well to combine.
  3. Make the pasta frolla shortcrust. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer or food processor), cream the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract on medium speed until fluffy and lighter in color (about 2 minutes). Add the egg plus 2 egg yolks one at a time making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one (it shouldn’t take longer than 15 seconds total to incorporate all of the eggs). Turn off the mixer, add the flour mixture, and gently stir it in using a rubber spatula until no flour streaks remain. 
  4. Form the shortcut pastry into a disc & refrigerate it. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to a non-stick Silpat or other surface and spread it out just slightly. Add the pasta frolla and gently start forming a disc incorporating the flour as needed to form a ball that doesn’t stick to your hands when pressed. If you need just a bit more or less flour that’s ok as long as you can form it into a soft disc without it sticking to the surface or your hands. Flatten it slightly, wrap it in sustainable cling film, and place it into the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  5. Roll out the bottom crust. Remove the chilled dough disc from the fridge and divide it into two pieces (with one piece being slightly larger than the other). Place the smaller piece of dough back into the fridge while you roll out the bottom crust. Place the disc onto a lightly floured surface, press down on it to flatten it, and shape it into a round. Roll it out to 1/8 of an inch (6mm) thick using more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the surface. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer it to the tart pan. Unroll it into the pan and press the dough into and around the pan making sure that there are no gaps between the pan and the dough (or it will shrink as it bakes). Use a knife or a rolling pin to trim the excess dough from the edges. Add the leftover trimmings to the other dough block in the fridge to keep it cold. Prick holes all over the entire crust (sides and bottom) to prevent it from puffing up as it bakes and chill it in the refrigerator while you roll and cut the lattice top.
  6. Make the lattice top and heart cutouts. Remove the smaller piece of dough from the fridge and roll it out as you did the first piece. Cut out 3 to 5 small hearts or desired shapes and set aside. Next, cut long strips as evenly as possible using a pizza cutter or other wheeled dough cutter. Depending on the size of your tart pan, you will need 5-6 strips for the bottom layer and 7 to 9 strips for the top layer. For my 11-inch tart pan, I used 6 wider strips for the bottom layer and 9 thinner strips for the top layer.
  7. Assemble the crostata. Remove the tart pan from the fridge and add the cherry jam. Decorate the top of the filled crostata with strips of dough, place the hearts on top, brush with egg white, and sprinkle the top with sugar. 
  8. Bake the crostata. Bake the crostata at 350°F/180°C for 10 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Reduce the heat to 345°F/175°C and continue baking for 25 to 30 more minutes, or until just golden brown on top. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and wait at least 2 hours before cutting into it. Once cooled, you may cover and refrigerate or freeze the crostata, or leave it covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, Enjoy!

Notes

Italian Crostata (Traditional Jam Tart) Troubleshooting Helpful Tips & Techniques

  • Do not be tempted to add more than the amount of jam called for. You can add 1 cup for a slightly less jammy crostata, or 1 1/2 cups for a little more fruit flavor in every bite. But adding 2 cups or more jam can result in the jam bubbling up and out of the tart like hot lava as it bakes (believe me, I’ve done it before).
  • Skip the tart pan or pie tin and make a freeform rustic crostata right on a baking tray. To make a rustic crostata, roll out the crostata dough to desired size and place it on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Add the jam, spread it out, and fold  about 2 inches of the dough in towards the middle to form a crostata crust or perimeter and bake as directed. *see photo in the main post. 
  • Make sure the dough is completely chilled before rolling it out or it will be difficult because this is a soft dough
  • If you have kiddos who are small but want to help, let them press in the dough instead of rolling it out, just be sure to chill the filled tart pan for at least 2 hours before filling it and baking it. 
  • If you want a perfect-looking crostata, place the fully assembled crostata back into the fridge for at least 20 minutes before baking (and even up to 6 hours). This will make sure the edges of the lattice top stay “clean” while baking. I baked my crostata immediately after assembling and while it doesn’t have perfectly “clean-cut” edges, it’s still pretty. You decide based on your schedule and desired look. 
  • Don’t be tempted to skip using the lemon zest in the pasta frolla. This is part of what gives it that authentic Italian taste that’s so good. I mean, the dough is delicious without it, but it won’t be a real crostata without that zest.  
  • If the dough gets too soft as you’re rolling it out, pop it back into the fridge for 20 minutes or so to help firm it back up, and then continue.
  • Don’t be afraid to use extra flour on the work surface and the rolling pin as needed to help keep the pastry from sticking as you roll. 
  • Italian 00 flour is what’s used for pasta frolla, but you may substitute cake flour or even all-purpose if that’s all you’ve got. 

How to Store Italian Jam Tarts (Crostata di Marmellata)

Crostata never lasts long at our house, but if you have any leftovers, here is the best way to store homemade jam tarts:

  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 days if desired as long as it’s a fairly cool environment, otherwise refrigerate it.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days wrapped well, or in an airtight container so it doesn’t absorb odors from onions or other ingredients.
  • Store in the freezer for up to 3 or 4 months wrapped very well in sustainable cling film and placed in an airtight container or freezer bag. You may defrost in the refrigerator overnight, or for a few hours at room temperature with all of the wrappings completely removed first (which will keep it from having condensation as it thaws). 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Refrigerating Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Pies + Cobblers + Crostate
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice

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