This super delicious Italian strawberry crostata recipe is one of our favorite desserts to eat (or buy from our local pasticceria. But it’s so easy to make you don’t have to live in Italy to enjoy it! In fact, this strawberry dessert is an excellent recipe for beginner bakers and kiddos to make. There are two components of this strawberry jam tart: “pasta frolla” which is a very forgiving and easy-to-make Italian shortcrust pastry and a 30-minute homemade strawberry jam (or your favorite store-bought brand). As always, step-by-step photos and tips for how to make the best strawberry jam tart follow.
What is Crostata alla Marmellata (Rustic Italian Jam Tart)?
Jam tarts (or “Italian crostate” — plural form of “crosata”) are one of the most popular desserts found across Italy. Every pastry shop, restaurant, grocery store, nonna, and friend has their own recipe for this Italian staple. It’s considered to be rustic because you don’t need many ingredients to make it and it doesn’t need to look too pretty to still taste amazing.
The best Italian crostata is made with sweet (but not too sweet) high-quality jam (homemade is great, but not mandatory) and a soft shortcrust Italian pastry dough (pasta frolla) that you can easily cut through using a fork.
Below (left) 11-inch (28cm) Tart Pan & (right) 9-inch (23cm) Pie Plate
You can make crostate (plural form of “crostata” in just about any type of tart pan or pie plate. See below for what pasta frolla looks like in a tart pan vs a pie plate.
What is Italian Pasta Frolla (Italian Shortcrust Pastry)?
Pasta frolla is a rich and crumbly (in a good way) 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. Plus, it can be made in just minutes using a stand mixer (or handheld mixer or food processor) by first creaming the sugar, butter, vanilla, and lemon zest together, then adding eggs/egg yolks, and finally stirring in the whisked dry ingredients with a spatula. It’s really this easy. Oh, and you can substitute the 00 flour with cake flour or all-purpose flour — how easy is that?
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 pasta frolla so that it can firm up which makes it really easy to roll out. This recipe for pasta frolla doesn’t break when you’re trying to roll it out which is why it’s great for beginner bakers. But if you have kiddos who are just learning how to bake, you can just as easily let them press in this dough instead of rolling it out and it will still yield delicious results they can be proud of.
What Kind of Fillings Can you Use with Pasta Frolla (Italian Shortcrust Pastry)?
The fillings for pasta frolla are endless — this sweet shortcrust pastry can be used to make apple crostata, cherry crostata blueberry crostata, raspberry crostata, peach crostata, or even Nutella crostata. It can even be filled with sweetened ricotta, pastry cream topped with fruit, or rolled out into delicious little cookies.
Why We Love This Italian Strawberry Jam Tart (Crostata alla Marmellata) Recipe
- It’s SO easy to make and deceptively delicious
- Pasta frolla shortcrust is ready in minutes (no cutting the fat into the flour required)
- You can use fresh or frozen strawberries
- There are just 9 ingredients in this recipe (and that includes salt)
- Total hands-on time is just 25 to 30 minutes
- Easy kid-friendly dessert recipe (they can just press in the crust)
- This pasta frolla (shortcrust) recipe is really easy to roll and cut
- Strawberry crostata can be made ahead of time and frozen
- It lasts all week long (if you don’t scarf it all down the first day)
Easy Italian Strawberry Crostata alla Marmellata (Jam Tart) Ingredients
Making this berry crostata at home is easy and uses very 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 recommend using a scale to weigh the ingredients if you have one. If you don’t have fresh or frozen strawberries on hand to make this quick 30-minute homemade strawberry jam, use your favorite brand.
- Italian 00 flour (or cake flour, or all-purpose)
- baking powder
- unsalted butter
- egg/egg yolk
- pure vanilla extract
- lemon zest
- homemade strawberry jam (or favorite brand)
How to Make Summer Strawberry Crostata di Marmellata (Strawberry Jam Tart)
Homemade crostata is typically made in a tart pan with removable bottom, but you can make it in a tart pan without a removable bottom or in a pie plate (as I’ve done for this post which I suppose makes this a strawberry crostata pie). For this crostata recipe, I’ve used n 9-inch (23cm) aluminum pie plate, but you may also use a 9-inch tart pan.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C & prepare a 9-inch (23) pie pan. If using a glass pie plate versus an aluminum pie plate, I recommend buttering the surface and adding about 1/4 cup of flour, and tapping it around to coat the pie plate. Tap out any excess flour and set aside. *FYI, when I use an aluminum pie plate I don’t have any issue with the tart sticking to the bottom of the pan so I don’t butter or flour it, but feel free to do so if you like.
- 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.
- Make the Strawberry Jam. (If using store-bought strawberry jam, skip straight to step # (6) below.) In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, add the chopped strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and orange juice and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook stirring frequently to avoid scorching for 25 to 27 minutes, or until the strawberries are mostly broken down and the mixture coats the back of a spoon (see photos). Remove from the heat and ladle the jam into a heatproof glass canning jar (Mason/Ball/Kerr/Weck/Quattro Stagione) and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- 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 pie plate (or 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 the knife to trim the excess dough off of the edges and add this dough to the other dough in the fridge. 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 cutouts if desired). 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 scallops or other shapes and set them aside. Next, cut long strips as evenly as possible using a pizza cutter or knife. You will need at least 4 or 5 strips for the bottom layer and 5 strips for the top layer.
- Decorate the crostata. Decorate the top of the filled crostata by placing 4 to 5 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 4 or 5 dough strips going in the opposite direction at an angle to create the diamond (or argyle) pattern. Place any cutouts on top, brush with egg white (optional), 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 2 or 3 days in a cooler environment (or 1 day in a warmer environment, Enjoy!
Italian Strawberry Crostata di Marmellata recipe step-by-step photos
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 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’re new to making pastry, you can cheat it and just press in the dough if you want (it won’t be as light, but it’s still really good!)
- 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 less and it will still taste great, but adding much more can result in the jam bubbling up and out of the tart like lava (believe me, I’ve done it).
- 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 crostata 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 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).
Looking for More Authentic Italian Dessert Recipes to Make?
Here are a few of our favorite Italian desserts to make — everything from classic vanilla bean panna cotta to Sicilian cannoli.
- Authentic Italian Cannoli with Homemade Shells and Filling (Cannoli Siciliani)
- Torta Di Mela (Easy & Delicious Italian Apple Cake)
- Velvety White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta (w/Lemon Zest and Poppy Seeds)
- How to Make Homemade Limoncello (The Italian Way)
- How to Make Colomba Pasquale (Sweet Italian Easter Dove Bread)
- Easy Authentic Italian Crostata di Marmellata (Italian Jam Tart)