Italian Crostata is the Italian dessert recipe for excellence, made with pasta frolla and jam. Crostata is a genuine, simple, incredibly greedy dessert that everyone in Italy loves deeply!
Italian Crostata is a sweet treat for any occasion. You can transform it into a thousand different tarts, depending on the filling: fruit tart, chocolate tart, custard tart, ricotta tart or apple tart.
The most classic and traditional Italian jam tart is the apricot crostata. But you can use any type of jam for this recipe: peaches, strawberries, berries, figs…in short use the jam you like most.
Crostata is perfect as a dessert but also great for the whole family’s breakfast! Match it with a glass of milk, hot coffee or fruit juice. Italian Crostata is even perfect for a healthy genuine snack and a must at parties and buffets.
Try our Authentic Italian Crostata recipe, it’s terrific and easy to make!
How to Make Traditional Italian Crostata Recipe
- Prep Time: 30 Min + at least 1 hour to cool in the refrigerator
- Cook Time: 30 Min
- Servings: 6
These are the doses for about 500 g (1,1 lb) of Pasta Frolla for a crostata in a tart pan of about 22 cm ( 9 inch) in diameter
For the Pasta Frolla:
- 250 g (8,8 oz = about 2 cups) of “00” flour + more for the working surface
- 100 g (3,5 oz = 1/2 cup) of granulated sugar
- 120 g ( about 1 stick) of unsalted cold butter
- 1 whole medium egg at room temperature
- 1 medium egg yolk at room temperature
- 1/6 teaspoon of fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- grated zest of half a lemon
For the Filling:
- 300 g of apricot jam (about 1 cup) or the jam you prefer
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
One of the difficulties of this recipe is to remove the crostata from the mold, once baked. You have to do it really carefully to not risk of breaking the jam tart. For this reason it’s better to use a non-stick mold for tarts/pie with removable bottom.
You can keep crostata for several days if well preserved, so a glass cake dome will be very useful and elegant at the same time.
Pasta Frolla Recipe
Step 1) – The first thing to do is to make the pasta frolla that you can fill with jam and decorate. So, place the flour on a pastry board then make a hole in the center. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and eggs at room temperature.
Step 2) – Finally, add the cold butter cut into small pieces. Combine it quickly with your hands.
The heat of your hands can melt the butter too much and alter the final flavor of the pasta frolla. So BEFORE KNEADING, here 2 useful TIPS: 1) put your hands under cold-ice water then dry them well; 2) use a marble pastry board. It’s really important not to heat the pasta frolla dough too much!
Step 3) – Mix the ingredients quickly, for the shortest possible time, so as not to overheat the dough, until the mixture is compact and elastic. Finally, form a loaf and wrap it in cling film.
Let it cool for AT LEAST 1 HOUR in the fridge. You can make pasta frolla even the day before.
For more details, tips, methods and informations about pasta frolla recipe, read our more detailed recipe: How to Make Pasta Frolla Recipe
Italian Crostata Recipe
Step 4) – REMEMBER: you have to work the pasta frolla when cold. So, take it from the fridge and cut about 1/3 of the pastry, wrap it in cling film and put it back in the fridge. This piece of pasta frolla is used to make the edge of the tart and the decorative strips.
Then roll out the remaining 2/3 of sweeet shortcrust pastry with a rolling pin until it reaches a thickness of about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch). Use a COLD work surface, such as marble.
Step 5) – Place the pasta frolla in a tart mold, lined with baking paper. Preferably with the removable bottom, so you can easily take the tart out once baked.
It’s not necessary to pierce the bottom of the tart with a fork. The weight of the jam does not allow the cake to swell during cooking.
Now take the pastry that is cooling in the refrigerator, take off a piece and, with the help of your hands, make a long roll of pastry as thick as a finger. Now, arrange the roll of pastry around the edge of the tart.
Step 6) – With the help of the tines of a fork or with the end of its handle, press on the roll of pastry along the edge, as if to make a decoration. Then, pour the jam and, with the help of a spoon, spread it over the whole surface of the tart.
Step 7) – With the remaining pasta frolla – the one in the fridge – make other rolls of pastry, flatten them with your hands and arrange them to form the classic decoration of Italian jam tart, a criss-cross pattern to form rhombuses or squares.
You can decorate your crostata in a more original or specific way, for differt occasions. For another type of decoration read the paragraph below “How to Decorate an Italian Crostata”.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180° C (350 F) for about 30 minutes. When the edge of the tart is golden brown, remove the crostata from the oven and let it cool before serving.
Italian crostata can be kept at room temperature for about 4/5 days protected under a cake dome or wrapped in cling film. The following day will be even better!
If the weather is very hot, you can keep it in the least cold part of the fridge. It will be a pleasant fresh dessert!
Crostata – when cooked – can be frozen and eaten within two months.
TIP: freeze your jam tart already cut into slices. It’ll be easier to put them in the freezer and you will be able to defrost and eat only few slices at a time.
How to Decorate an Italian Crostata
We have shown you an easy way to make the Crostata that is the simplest of all. But there is another way to make an Italian jam tart. Let’s see what we are talking about.
You can make a pasta frolla shell and fill it with jam. Then press the edge with the tines of a fork to decorate it or fold the pastry edges around the tart over. Depending on the thickness of the pasta frolla you can choose one or the other solution.
Now roll out 1/3 of the pasta frolla you put in the refrigerator. With cookie cutters cut out some stars, or hearts or other shape you like. Place them gently on top of the jam and cook following the instructions in step 7. Here you go with another easy Italian crostata decoration!
Italian Crostata: Other Filling Options
Classic Italian crostata recipe wants jam as a filling. Apricot jam is the most used, but you can use the jam you prefer: strawberries, figs, peaches and so on.
Following the same steps, you can make other types of crostata. With chocolate (Nutella or chocolate pastry cream), with crema pasticcera and fresh fruit (fruit crostata), with white chocolate and berries (white chocolate fruit crostata)
Italian Crostata: History and Curiosities
There have been different interpretations of what was the beginning and the birth of the crostata recipe.
Certainly, in the most ancient documents, when they talk about “tart” they refer to savory pies. We have to wait until the year one thousand to find in Venice a recipe for the jam tart with cane sugar, that came from the Middle East.
Many attribute the invention of the jam tart, as we know it today, to a nun from the convent of Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples. It’s said that the pasta frolla strips recall the grates with which the cloistered nuns attended religious services.
Despite its poor origin, this dessert has even arrived on the tables of the Bourbons. This is where another very famous pasta frolla dessert is born: the Neapolitan Pastiera.
It’s said that the crostata made smile Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, wife of Ferdinand II, who was called “the queen who never smiles.” From now on, when you taste a slice of Italian crostata, a smile can escape you!
Crostata recipe has a national day dedicated: September 9, the day in which the goodness, crispness and joy of the Italian jam tart is celebrated.