Since being home I’ve missed the Italian lifestyle and most importantly the food. There’s one classic recipe in particular I’ve always wanted to bake and subsequently eat, the classic Crostata. If you were wondering, a Crostata is a delicious jam tart. It’s simple, but so good and possibly one of my most favourite desserts now. I have fond memories of eating jam tarts from my childhood, I remember my favourites were blackberry and lemon curd and I would always pester my Mum to buy me some- she always gave in! Traditional British jam tarts are so similar to the classic Crostata you can buy in Italy, the pastry is just as light, buttery and zesty and the filling, perfectly sweet and oozing full of jammy goodness. I was really pleased with the finished result, not bad for my very first attempt!
This Crostata recipe uses the very best pastry, it’s light, sweet and short and the addition of lemon and vanilla gives it that unique Italian flavour. I’ve used a rotella- which I bought home from Italy. It’s perfect for Italian jam tarts, because it gives the authentic and beautiful lattice design.
Perfect to slice up for that afternoon-pick-me-up, but I also have to admit I very much enjoy a slice for breakfast. If you make this recipe, you will find it’s sweet, zingy and the absolute reminder of Summer days.
I found a taste of home (quite literally) whilst I was visiting Volterra. I grew up eating Wilkin & Son Tiptree Jam and the actual factory is not that far away from where I live, so I made sure this recipe was a fusion between Italian and British produce. This Crostata wouldn’t be as special if it didn’t use British jam! And as you can tell from this photo there are so many different flavours and varieties of jam, but I love Damson jam so that was my choice.
Love how the pastry is speckled with lemon zest and vanilla bean
Ingredients (Makes 1 Crostata)
Recipe adpated from italyonmymind
125g of unsalted butter, softened
20g of icing sugar, sifted
240g of plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Pinch of salt
1 large free-range egg
1/2 jar of good-jam- I used Damson (use any of your favourite jams, this recipe is very versatile)
Clotted cream, lightly whipped cream or vanilla bean ice-cream
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan (350F). To make the pastry, in a stand mixer beat the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat until crumbs form. Add the eggs and just mix until it’s comes together- try not to over mix at this point. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or until a little firm.
2. Once the dough is fully chilled, lightly dust a work surface with a little icing sugar, roll the pastry until it’s slightly larger than the tin. If your pastry reaches more than half-way up the case, trim away gently using a knife. Roll the excess pastry into a ball and place in the fridge for the time being.
3. Spoon the jam onto the pastry base. Take the remaining pastry, roll out and then cut strips with a zig-zag cutter- the lattices should be long enough that the strips touch the edges of the crostata. Brush with beaten egg yolk.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, remove from the oven when the the tart is nice and lightly golden on top- if it’s colouring too quickly, just cover with foil. Cool in the tin, then carefully remove, cool completely to room temp. Dust lightly with icing sugar, then slice up!