This super delicious Italian summer fruit crostata recipe is one of our favorite desserts to eat. And it’s so easy to make which means it’s an excellent dessert 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 can be found in the main post.
- 1 1/4 cups Italian 00 flour (or cake flour or all-purpose flour) (150g)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (3g)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1g)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (165g)
- 1/3 cup sugar (65g)
- 1/2 of one large egg whisked (25g)*
- 1 large egg yolk (20-25g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (4g)
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 to 3/4 cups of homemade strawberry jam (155 to 250g)*see note below
- sugar for sprinkling over the top before baking (optional but recommended)
- 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 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).
- 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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