Jam-filled crostate (plural of crostata) are ubiquitous go-to desserts in Italy, from the north of the boot to the south, and are eaten at any time of day – even for breakfast. They’re typically baked in a round, ceramic or removable-bottom metal tart pan. I’ve posted about them in the past, but I wanted to share with you a revelation I had recently when I baked a couple to take to my Italian chit-chat group’s annual picnic. We had just transferred to the beach house for the summer, and I hadn’t yet brought my tart pans, so I went to the grocery store and bought disposable aluminum pans to use instead. I sprayed them first with a little vegetable spray (PAM) and placed the dough and jam inside, wondering if the disposable pans would work as reliably as my old metal tart pans, although admittedly, even with my metal tart pans, I am sometimes disappointed, with soggy bottom crusts.
I needn’t have worried. I had to be a little more careful in handling the pan while transferring to and from the oven, since it wasn’t as sturdy, but the bottom crusts baked more evenly and more thoroughly than the metal tart pans I normally use. I may have to rethink tart-making from now on. The recipe below makes two tarts — using 7 1/2″ x 12″ disposable pans or two 8″ or 9″ metal tart pans. I filled one with fig jam and one with cherry jam, adding a little amaretto to both the crusts and to the filling.
They slice up nicely too, into square pieces, making them perfect finger food for a party dessert.
Dig in. Bet you can’t eat just one.
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- 1½ sticks of butter, (12 Tablespoons) at room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk (save egg white)
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups flour
- ⅓ cup to ¼ cup amaretto, grappa, sherry or whatever liqueur you like
- a few teaspoons of ice water, if necessary
- fruit preserves (a 13 ounce jar or about 2 cups for each crostata), warmed to spreading consistency
- ⅛ cup amaretto (or other liqueur of your preference) to add to the fruit preserves (for each crostata)
- two disposable 7½" x 12" aluminum pans, or two 8" or 9" round ceramic or metal pans
- Place flour and sugar into food processor and pulse for a few seconds.
- Add the butter in small pieces and pulse again, until it resembles coarse sand.
- Add the egg(s) and liqueur to the food processor, pulsing until the mixture starts to form a ball.
- Add a little ice water, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary.
- If you don’t have a food processor, mix by hand with pastry cutter or spoon.
- Let it rest for about ½ hour.
- Divide the dough into ⅔ for the bottom and ⅓ for the strips.
- Roll the bottom onto a floured surface and fit it into a buttered tart pan, letting any excess hang over the edge.
- Fill the crust with jam.
- Roll the remaining ⅓ of the dough on a floured surface and cut into strips.
- Place them lattice-fashion over the jam, attach them to the dough along the rim, then trim the edges of the crostata.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
- I place the crostata on a cookie sheet that has been preheated in the oven to 425 degrees, then lower it immediately to 375 degrees.
- It helps ensure the bottom crust is cooked thoroughly.