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 traditional jam tart recipe fool you — it’s delicious! Plus, you can fill it with any flavored jam or even Nutella.
- 2 1/2 cups Italian 00 flour (or cake flour or all-purpose 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)
Homemade crostata can be made in a tart pan or other shallow baking pans with or without removable bottoms. For a frame of reference, I’ve used an 11-inch (28cm) tart pan without a removable bottom for this post. If you use a smaller pan, you can make the crust slightly thicker which is really good, or use the excess dough to make little cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C & prepare a 9 to 11-inch (23-28cm) tart pan. Butter the tart pan using your hands to be 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, tap out any excess flour and set aside.
- Measure out the dry ingredients. In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk well to combine.
- 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 lighter in color and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and 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.
- Form the 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 in order 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 and wrap it well with sustainable cling film and place it into the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- Assemble the crostata. 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 and press down on it to flatten it and shape it into a round. Roll it out to 1/16 of an inch (4mm) using more flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the surface. Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and support the bottom of the rolling pin as you transfer the dough to the tart pan. Unroll it into the tart 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 the rolling pin to roll over the edges of the tart pan to cut off the excess dough. Prick holes all over the entire bottom crust to prevent it from puffing up as it bakes. Add the jam to the tart and refrigerate while you make the lattice top.
- 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 other 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 at least 4 or 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 (first) layer and 9 thinner strips for the top layer.
- Decorate the crostata. Decorate the top of the filled crostata by placing 4 to 6 dough strips equal distances apart from each other at an angle going from one side to the other and removing the excess dough from the edges. Turn the crostata slightly and add 7 to 9 dough strips going in the opposite direction at an angle to create the diamond (or argyle) pattern. Place the hearts on top, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with sugar.
- 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!
Italian Crostata (Traditional Jam Tart) Troubleshooting Helpful Tips & Techniques
This is a super easy Italian dessert to make and the helpful tips below make it even simpler to pull off. Traditional crostata flavors you’ll find in Italy are: Apricot (albicoccha), Raspberry (lampone), Plum (prugna), Cherry (ciliega), Nutella, and less often strawberry (fragola).
- 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 the lesser amount called for (1 1/2 cups) and it will still taste great, but adding more than 2 cups of jam will result in the jam bubbling up and out of the tart like 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 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
- Serving Size: 1 slice
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