Easy Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)

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Easy Italian Crostata is a classic dessert made with a shortbread cookie-like pastry crust (pasta frolla) and filled with any fruit jam or preserve of your preference.

More classic Italian desserts to try Traditional Panettone Recipe (Italian Christmas Cake), Authentic Struffoli Recipe (Italian Honey Balls), and Chiacchiere di Carnevale Recipe (Italian Fried Pastries).

Crostata Jam filled tart with lattice top
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Easy Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)

The best part about a crostata is the free-form rustic process and simple ingredients. This is our Italian family crostata recipe, and it is truly the BEST and so easy to make! I fondly remember making this with my noon in our small Italian kitchen. You will love this traditional Italian crostata recipe.

Similar recipes to try: Italian Ricotta Pie, Italian Easter Rice Pie Recipe (Pastiera di Riso), Best Italian Crumb Cake with Jam Filling, Traditional Italian Cream Horns (Cannoncini), Custard Tart, or Simple Italian Apple Cake (one bowl).

Don’t forget the BEST Authentic Sicilian Cannoli Recipe!

What is Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)?

Italian crostata is a rustic recipe requiring only a few pantry staples—no special tools, ingredients, or processes.

You only need a few pantry staples, a fork, and a flat work surface. You can call it the lazy cousin to an American pie: apple pie or a sister to the French galette or tart.

Simple Ingredients

Pastry Crust (Italian Pasta Frolla)

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Cold Butter
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Optional: sliced almonds if desired for topping

Filling

  • jam of choice*

*see variations for the filling.

See recipe card for quantities.

Ingredients for Italian crostata dough recipe

What is Italian Pasta Frolla (Crostata Dough)?

Pasta Frolla is an Italian sweet shortcrust pastry. It is a basic dough recipe with flour, butter, eggs, sugar and some flavorings.

Like any traditional recipe, there are many versions of pasta frolla, depending on the region and family tradition. This is my nonna Laura’s recipe that we’ve used for decades.

With this simple pasta frolla recipe, you can make tarts, cakes, and simple shortcrust cookies!

Instructions with step-by-step photos

The process for the pasta frolla dough is very simple.

Photos 1-4 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.

pasta frolla process- how to make pasta frolla by hand- mixing the dry ingredients and incorporating the wet to make a dough
process for making pasta frolla dough

Photos 5-8 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.

Pasta frolla process- rolling out dough, letting it rest and rolling it out and placing it in a pie plate
rolling out and shaping the dough

Serving Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)

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.

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!

Italian Crostata Filling Variations

The filling for this Italian jam tart or crostata is so versatile!

Filling options include any fruit jam or preserves, fresh fruit, Italian pastry cream, Italian Chocolate Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera) to make chocolate crostata, Best Italian Pistachio Cream, or Sweet ricotta filling.

  • Strawberry jam (strawberry crostata is superb)
  • Plum jam
  • Rhubarb jam
  • Any variety of homemade jam

In this recipe, I feature a simple apricot jam filling.

Italian Crostata slices

Pro Tips

This version of crostata (pasta frolla) is rich and buttery. The crumb and sweetness resemble 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 the 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).

Variations

Finally, you can forgo the lattice altogether and instead use cookie cutters to cut out decorative shapes to top your crostata.

You can also use this crostata dough as a sugar cookie dough. Simply roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes.

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 entered the tiny summer house kitchen and gathered a bowl, fork, kitchen scale, rolling pin, and a few simple ingredients.

I can see her hands working the dough into a uniform ball without compacting it too much. Her crostata’s were spectacular.

To this day, I don’t think I’ve made one just like hers. Maybe it is my memory of them and 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

How to Store Crostata

Crostata can be kept at room temperature, and covered in a cool, dry place. It will keep for 2-3 days. 

The pastry dough can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Make sure to wrap it in plastic.

More Italian Desserts Recipes for you

Enjoy our family recipe for the BEST Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)!

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Whole crostata with a slice taken out

Italian Crostata Dough (Pasta Frolla) Recipe

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

  • Total Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units 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, beaten

Instructions

  1.  In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix with a whisk until incorporated. Add the egg and butter and mix until incorporated (the dough will be fairly “rough” at this point). 
  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.
  3. 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. 
  4.  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.
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min (plus chilling time)
  • Cook Time: N/A
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian
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Italian Crostata Recipe (Jam filled Tart)

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No reviews

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. 

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 Recipe for Crostata Dough (Pasta Frolla)
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam or other fruit preserves + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest mixed into the jam OR Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera) Recipe
  • Optional: slivered almonds for topping

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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use the rolling pin or the flat of your hand to press around the perimeter of the pan to cut off any excess dough. 
  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Spoon the jam and lemon zest filling (or Italian pastry cream) into the shell and smooth it with a spatula.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. If desired, sprinkle the top with sliced almonds 
  9. 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!)
  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 30 min (plus 1 hour chilling)
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Category: Sweet/ Dessert
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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11 Comments

  1. I weighed each ingredient carefully, but my dough is very crumbly and isn’t coming together. What have I done wrong?

  2. Should the egg and butter be room temperature when preparing the dough? This is my first time making a dough. And rice pie for that matter.

      1. Thank you. I will let you know. Love you recipes, btw. Old school,Italian like my grandma, yet refreshing and easy to follow. Grazie.

  3. Hi I’m desperate to try your Italian easter rice cake as I’ve made it before but your recipe looks beautiful but I can’t find the amounts of thr ingredients or am I being daft 😁

  4. This recipe is my nonna Laura’s recipe. We used to make it together in Italy and is simply the best! Enjoy.