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Crostata (Classic Italian Pie)

In this classic Crostata, a sweet short crust pastry shell is filled with apricot jam to make a simple but scrumptious Italian pie known as a “Crostata di Marmellata” or jam crostata.  Made with a traditional Italian pastry dough called Pasta Frolla, this popular tart is a much-loved dessert all over Italy.

A an apricot jam tart with a lattice top on a wood board with a slice being lifted out of it.

The cookie-like texture of pasta Frolla pastry dough is perfect for creating countless desserts ranging from rustic freeform fruit pies such as an Apple Crostata, this popular apricot crostata, custard filled pies and even cut out cookies.  You will love the versatility of this easy pasta Frolla recipe.

Unlike American pies which tend to have a tender and flaky crust, classic Italian crostata is made with sweet and crumbly pastry dough.  The pasta Frolla dough is made with flour, butter, sugar, and eggs as its base.  Throughout Italy you will find variations of the recipe that may include, lemon zest, vanilla extract, brandy, olive oil, brown sugar, or chocolate. 

The most classic crostata filling is apricot. But Nutella and other fruit jam variations, like strawberry and blackberry are also frequently served dessert options.   

Ingredients with labels: flour, eggs, sugar, jam, butter, baking powder and lemon zest.

Ingredients

This Italian jam tart is made with simple ingredients that you probably already have at home.

  • 00 Flour:  The fine grind of this flour quickly forms gluten when it is mixed with liquids and is perfect for making crostata dough.  All-purpose flour also works well, but I don’t recommend bread flour for this crust recipe.
  • Eggs: You will need a whole egg and an egg yolk at room temperature.  
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar and you can substitute light brown sugar.  I have never tried this recipe with powdered sugar so I can’t recommend it.
  • Baking Powder and Salt
  • Butter:  Very cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes.
  • Lemon Zest: This is optional but it does give the dough a nice bright flavor. 
  • Apricot Jam: You can easily customize this recipe by using your own homemade jam or any fruit jam you like. 

​Equipment:

You will want to make sure that the dough stays cold, so I recommend using a food processor to make the tart dough.  If you don’t have a food processor you can combine the ingredients in a large bowl and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the ingredients until they are crumbly and then use your hands to form a dough ball.

Step-by-Step Instructions

4 photos showing flour and lemon zest in a food processor, eggs, butter and sugar added to the flour, a dough formed in the food processor and a ball of dough on a granite surface.
  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the eggs and butter to the flour mixture.
  3. Pulse until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Pour the dough onto a floured work surface and press it together. Then gently knead it a few times to form a smooth ball. Flatten the dough to form a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.  
4 photos of dough rolled in a circle, dough in a tart pan, jam spread on the dough and the tart with a lattice top.
  1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a generously floured work surface.  Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it into a large circle, slightly larger than your tart pan or pie pan.  
  2. Transfer the dough to your tart pan and lightly press it in place.  Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of the dough.
  3. Spread the jam evenly across the bottom of the tart shell.  
  4. Trim the excess dough from around the edges of the tart pan. Cut the leftover dough into strips for the lattice top. You can also cut it into shapes to decorate the top of the tart.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree F oven for 30 minutes or until the tart crust is golden brown.  Set the crostata on a baking rack to cool.  

Baking Tips

  • ​Using a marble or granite work surface will help keep the dough cold while you roll it out.
  • It is important to rest the dough in the refrigerator for an hour, but at the very least for 30 minutes.
  • Keep your work surface and rolling pin floured as you roll out the dough. You may have to lift the dough periodically and add more flour to keep it from sticking.
  • Using a tart pan with a removable bottom will make it easy to transfer the crostata to a serving plate.
  • Extra dough can be rolled out and used to make cookies.  Bake them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes.
A whole apricot crostata with a lattice top next to a plaid cloth and copper measuring cups.

How to Serve Crostata

Whether you make this jam crostata or a freeform fresh fruit crostata, they are the perfect dessert to complement any meal.  In Italy you will commonly see this enjoyed as a sweet breakfast treat or an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee.  It can be served on its own, with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or even a dollop of whipped cream. 

Storing Suggestions

To store your jam crostata, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in a cool place for 2-3 days.

If you want to make the dough in advance, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Just make sure it is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.  

An apricot lattice top crostata with a slice being removed.

FAQ

What is the difference between a tart and a crostata

A tart is usually made with a shortcrust pastry dough in a low rimmed plate. The tart shell can be topped with either sweet or savory fillings. A crostata is the Italian term for the same type of pastry but it can also refer to a free form shell typically filled with fresh fruits such as apple, peaches or berries.

What is the difference between a crostata and a gallete?

A Crostata and a Gallete are very similar pastries. A crostata is an Italian free form pie or tart made with a shortcrust pastry called pasta frolla. Gallete is a French term used to refer to a flat cake or a single crust pastry that is usually made with puff pastry.

Love a Classic Italian Dessert?

If you like the simplicity of this crostata recipe then you will be happy to know that some of the best Italian desserts are very easy to make.  Panna cotta, an Italian custard and Budino, it’s pudding cousin, are both versatile enough to be served for an elegant dinner or a casual family meal.  If you would rather have cake, then you must try my Italian Almond Cake!  It is sweet moist and so easy to make!

You can’t talk about Italian desserts without mentioning cookies!  Italians are known for their delicious cookies, like Anginetti, jam filled Pizzicati, tender Butter Cookies or Ricotta Cookies.  When you are planning for the holidays you have to include Cuccidati and Chocolate Spice Cookies!  

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Crostata recipe or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

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A whole apricot crostata with a lattice top.

Classic Italian Crostata Recipe

Crostata, Italian tart or pie, is an easy short crust pastry that you can fill with your favorite jam, custard or fruit to make countless delicious desserts. This apricot jam version is simple popular dessert in Italy.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Refrigerate 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 175 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cup 00 Flour
  • 1 Egg large
  • 1 Egg yolk large
  • ½ cup Sugar granulated
  • ½ cup Butter unsalted, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Apricot Jam Preserves
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Zest Optional

Instructions
 

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to mix the ingredients.
  • Add the eggs and butter to the flour mixture and pulse until a dough forms. This may take a minute or two. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  • Cut off 2/3 of the dough disc and place it on a floured surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll the it out into a circle about ¼" thick. Turn the dough as you roll it out and add flour to your work surface as needed so the dough does not stick.
  • Transfer the dough to a tart pan and gently press it into the sides and bottom, then trim the excess dough from around the edges. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork. Spread the jam even on the bottom of the tart. Use the remaining dough to make strips for a basket design or cut it into shapes to decorate the top of the tart.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Notes

Baking Tips

  • Using a marble or granite work surface will help keep the dough cold while you roll it out.
  • To make transferring the dough to the tart pan, you can roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. 
  • It is important to rest the dough in the refrigerator for an hour, but at the very least for 30 minutes.
  • Keep your work surface and rolling pin floured as you roll out the dough. You may have to lift the dough periodically and add more flour to keep it from sticking.
  • Using a tart pan with a removable bottom will make it easy to transfer the crostata to a serving plate.
  • Extra dough can be rolled out and used to make cookies.  Bake them on a cookies sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 246mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 370IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword Pie, tart, jam, easy
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