A crostata is an Italian pie or tart. The crostata dough is very unique. It’s a cross between a cake and a pastry dough. It’s super easy to make and as long as you have a jar of jam in the fridge, you’ll probably have all of the other ingredients in your pantry to make this delicious Italian pie.
My mom made crostatas with her homemade jam when we were kids. Most of us don’t have the time to make our own jam these days, but there are so many great ones out there to choose from. I went with Smucker’s strawberry spread (double fruit/low-sugar) for this crostata. Everyone really enjoyed it, including my mom and she’s a tough critic. The fruit spread is a healthier option, but if you want more of an authentic Italian experience, go with a typical strawberry jam. You don’t need a lot of jam to make this recipe, just a thin layer. It’s not like a fruit pie filling.
I made this crostata in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and I still had a little extra dough to make the mini tart. If you don’t have a tart pan, you could use a springform pan or even a pie plate. It’s really important not to overfill the tart shell with jam because you don’t want it to overflow and make a mess of your oven. As you can see with the smaller tart, I did have a little spill, but fortunately I had a baking sheet under it, so there was no mess to clean up in my oven afterward. You may want to consider putting your tart on a baking sheet the first time you make it, just to be safe. I’m a little neurotic about keeping my oven clean. I know it’s not normal. 🙂
This is a stunning dessert and it’s so easy to make. This is not my mom’s recipe. This recipe is more of a Northern-Italian take on a crostata. It’s made with butter, not oil, so it’s a little richer. This recipe calls for a stick of butter. That’s not too bad and I went with a healthy jam, so it’s all good. I will post my mom’s recipe at a later date, so you can compare northern and southern Italian flavours. By the way, how cute is this Cuisinart apron? I got it at Winners/Homesense for a steal. I love that I can keep my cooking utensils and styling tools in the front pockets. I also love that my roses and peonies are in season. They’re so pretty.
I digress – back to the crostata. You’re going to love this recipe. The pie crust is very light and tender. There’s not a lot of flour in this recipe, so the dough needs to chill so that you can roll it out with ease. It’s worth the wait. Nobody likes a dry crust. You can skip the rolling all-together and just press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers for a more rustic look. It’s up to you, both techniques will work. You will need to roll out a third of the dough to achieve the lattice look on top. It’s so yummy and if you’ve never tried an Italian crostata, you owe it to yourself to make one. It is divine!
A delicious and rustic Italian jam pie
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, and more for rolling
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 lemon (zest only)
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
Put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Put the eggs and lemon zest in another small bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients.
Add the softened butter to the mixture. Mix until the dough comes together.
Roll the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into thirds. Cover one third of the dough in plastic wrap. Cover the rest of the dough (two-thirds) in plastic wrap as well. Refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Generously flour a large cutting board. Take the larger ball of dough out of the refrigerator. Place it on the floured cutting board. Press down the dough. Flour the top of the dough generously and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use the rolling pin to transfer the dough to the tart pan. Alternatively you can roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and use the parchment paper to transfer the dough to the pan. Another option would be to just press the dough into the tart pan with your fingers.
Add a thin layer of jam to the tart shell. Be sure not to fill the tart shell to the top with jam. Leave some space to avoid a spill.
Roll out the smaller portion of dough. Use a knife or a pastry wheel to cut the dough into 3/4 inch strips. Place the strips on top of the tart. Cut off the excess dough and crimp the edges with a fork.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.