Crostata (Italian Jam Tart) Nonna Laura’s Recipe

Italian Crostata is a classic dessert made with a short bread cookie like pastry crust (pasta frolla) and filled with any fruit jam or preserve of your preference. The best part about a crostata is the free form rustic process and look. No special tools, ingredients, or process. All you need is a few pantry staples, a fork, and a flat work surface. You can call it the lazy cousin to an American pie or a sister to the French galette or tart. In Italy this sweet is loved for breakfast and snack time (la merenda) even more than after dinner as a dessert. Bring a sweet taste of Italy to your cucina by bringing a homemade crostata to your table!

Crostata Jam filled tart with lattice top

Simple Ingredients and Process for Italian Crostata Dough (Pasta Frolla)

  • flour
  • sugar
  • egg
  • butter
  • baking powder and salt

Fillings can include: any fruit jam or preserve, fresh fruit, Italian pastry cream, sweet ricotta filling. In this recipe I feature a jam filling. You may swap the jam for my recipe of Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera) Recipe if you desire.

That’s it as far as the ingredients for crostata! Some add a little lemon zest to the dough, but I prefer to leave it out and add a little to the jam filling. The process for the crostata is very simple. First, mix the flour, dash of salt, sugar and egg with a fork and then start by working in the softened butter to form a ball of dough. It is important to refrigerate the dough before rolling out and shaping into the pan. This is step lets the butter set with the rest of the ingredients and makes the dough easier to handle.

Italian Crostata slices

Tips for Crostata Dough (Pasta Frolla)

This version of crostata (pasta frolla) is rich and buttery. The crumb and sweetness resembles shortbread when baked.

  1. Be sure to chill the dough thoroughly — for at least 1 hour — after making it (overnight is fine).
  2. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before rolling out so that the butter softens and the dough becomes pliable.
  3. Do not overwork the dough and use a lightly floured surface. Too much flour and handling will result in a tough dough.
Crostata Jam filled tart with lattice top

Decorating the Crostata

Not all crostatas call for a lattice top, but it is traditional. There are a couple of approaches to forming the lattice. One is to roll pieces of dough by hand into long ropes and arrange them on top of the filled base in a crisscross pattern. Another is to roll the pastry into a sheet and cut strips with a straight or fluted pastry wheel. The traditional lattice top is not woven, as the buttery dough makes it challenging to weave without tearing. That said, if the dough is sufficiently chilled, it is possible to create a woven lattice top (the more you practice, the easier it is to do). Finally, you can forgo the lattice altogether and instead use cookie cutters to cut out decorative shapes to top your crostata.

Crostata Story- Nonna Laura’s Crostata Recipe

Something about a lazy summer afternoon calls for baking a sweet treat. For my Nonna Laura, this was typically making a simple crostata. She could make it easily in our rustic beach home kitchen and she knew her children and grandchildren loved any variety she made. Her most classic and loved filling was apricot jam- often local jam from the neighboring fruit stands. I remember the look on her face when she got up from her chair and said, “well, I think I’ll make a crostata this afternoon”. She went into the tiny summer house kitchen and gathered a bowl, fork, kitchen scale, rolling pin, and a few simple ingredients. I can see her hands now working the dough to a uniform ball without compacting it too much. Her crostata’s where spectacular. To this day, I don’t think I’ve made one just like hers. Maybe it is my memory of them and the fact that she made them with her sweet hands. Either way, I continue to make them and think of her. I hope that with this recipe you can enjoy Italian crostata as much as we do!

stacked slices of the crostata

Delicious Pie and Galette Recipes

More Italian Desserts Recipes for YOU

Italian Crumble Cake Pastry Cream Filling

Easy Almond Sponge Cake with Italian Cream

Vanilla Cake Roll with Cream and Berries

Italian Crumble Cake with Jam Filling

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Whole crostata with a slice taken out

Italian Crostata Dough (Pasta Frolla) Recipe

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min (plus chilling time)
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This version of crostata dough (pasta frolla) is rich and buttery. The crumb and sweetness resembles shortbread when baked.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups (250 gr) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons (100 gr) salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix with a whisk until incorporated. Add 
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Form the dough into two disks, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until well chilled (overnight is fine). Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling it out. 
  3.  Use the dough to make a jam or pastry cream crostata (Recipe Below). You can also make the dough into cookies by rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter to make shapes. Cooking time about 10 minutes at 350 F. 

Notes

  1. Be sure to chill the dough thoroughly — for at least 1 hour — after making it (overnight is fine).
  2. Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before rolling out so that the butter softens and the dough becomes pliable.
  3. Do not overwork the dough and use a lightly floured surface. Too much flour and handling will result in a tough dough.

Keywords: crostata, dessert, Italian dessert, sweet dough, jam, tart, sweet, dessert recipe, pasta frolla

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Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 30 min (plus 1 hour chilling)
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Italian Crostata is a classic dessert made with a short bread cookie like pastry crust (pasta frolla) and filled with any fruit jam of your preference. The best part about a crostata is the free form rustic process and look. No special tools, ingredients, or process. All you need is a few pantry staples, a fork, and a flat work surface. You can call it the lazy cousin to an American pie or a sister to the French galette or tart. In Italy this sweet is loved for breakfast and snack time (la merenda) even more than after dinner as a dessert. Bring a sweet taste of Italy to your cucina by bringing a homemade crostata to your table! 


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. After making and chilling the dough- roll out the larger portion into an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker. Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin and drape it over a 9-inch fluted tart pan or round pie dish. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the rolling pin or the flat of your hand to press around the perimeter of the pan to cut off any excess dough. 
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Spoon the jam and lemon zest filling (or Italian pastry cream) into the shell and smooth it with a spatula. Roll out the remaining dough portion into a 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker, and use a fluted pastry wheel or pizza slicer to cut it into 3/4-inch-wide strips, or simply cut it into strips, or make ropes by rolling with hands. Carefully place the strips over the filled tart in a lattice pattern (not woven simply lay piece on one another), gently pressing the ends of the strips into the sides of the pan. Use the flat of your hand to gently cut off any excess dough.
  4. Bake the crostata for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Mangia! (Eat!)

Keywords: crostata, dessert, Italian dessert, sweet dough, jam, tart, sweet, dessert recipe, pasta frolla