Crostata can be found in many cafes and bars all over Italy, but it is one of those desserts that our grandmas, great aunts, and moms almost always have under a glass cake dome in the kitchen. Italians love to have a thin slice in the morning with cappuccino or as an after lunch and dinner dessert.
This recipe has been brought to you by Chef Linda Ingaldson McNally.
Ingredients To Make Crostata
- 2 1/2 cups white flour
- 165g (3/4 cup) of room temperature butter, cubed into small pieces
- 3/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Small amount of milk to brush over dough
- 1/2 cup your favorite jam (apricot is a classic) OR
- 1/2 cup nutella
Directions To Make Crostata
- Use one large, refrigerated bowl to mix all the crust ingredients (minus the milk) with the tips of your fingers, breaking up the pieces of butter and smushing them into the rest of the ingredients.
- As the butter breaks down and you feel the dough coming together, use your hands to incorporate. This part is traditionally done by hand, but can be very tiring! Alternatively, use a food processor to blitz together. A cold bowl will help with keeping the butter from melting too much.
- The dough will go from a sand like texture to a more defined, cohesive dough. Once you’ve incorporated all the ingredients, form a smooth ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Once chilled, remove your ball of dough from the fridge and lightly flour your clean work surface. Put a small amount of dough (1/8 of the ball) to the side – you’ll use this to make your criss cross shape on top of your crostata. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll out a 1/4 inch thick slab with your larger piece of dough that fits in your 10×10 round tart pan.
- At this point, preheat your over to 375 degrees F.
- Place your slab into your tart pan and use the palm of your hand to press firmly and evenly. You want a nice, even layer of dough with an 1/2 inch lip around the sides. Feel free to run a knife along the edges to make it even.
- Use a fork to make 8-10 piercings in the bottom of your dough.
- Spread an even layer of your jam or Nutella along the bottom of your dough, not too thick and not too thin – about 1/4 inch in depth.
- Using your leftover dough, use a lightly floured surface to roll out another small slab. Make sure it’s long enough to cover your crostata, so about 10 inches. Make it the same thickness as your slab – roughly 1/4 inch.
- Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8, 1/4 inch wide strips. Don’t worry if they’re not all 10 inches long, you’ll only need a couple that are that long to lay across the length of your crostata.
- Take your crostata and begin placing your dough strips on top of the jam or Nutella layer. Traditionally, you place strips down one direction and then complete the design by placing the rest in the other direction, making a criss cross pattern. You can make any pattern you like, parallel strips to make lines or even little balls. Whatever you do, just make sure it’s even across your crostata so it cooks evenly.
- Before placing in the oven, brush the crust with some milk.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Wait 30 minutes before cutting so the warm jam or Nutella can set. Feel free to just keep the crostata in its pan and cut your slices from it (This is what we always do), but feel free to remove the crostata from its pan to a serving plate, just be careful not to crack it as it is pretty delicate.
- Option to sift some powered sugar over the top to make your crostata extra beautiful. Serve alone, or with a strong cup of espresso.
A Note About This Recipe
Crostata is a humble dessert, made with easy to find and low cost ingredients. Traditional fruit jam crostatas have always been a great way to eat a fruity dessert without having actual fruit on hand, especially during the winter months. It’s very common for the fruit filling to be handmade with fruits from the yard or local orchard earlier that year.
If you have the time to make your own apricot, strawberry, or blackberry jam to use instead of store-bought, it makes your crostata that much more authentic and delicious. The apricot jam I still have in my fridge from last summer is prepared by one of my great aunts with the apricots in her backyard. It is worlds away from store-bought apricot jam; delicate, a little runny, and simply mouthwatering.
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Linda Ingaldson McNally is a Personal Chef & Nutritionist, The Gastro Magazine Author, and the Co-Founder of Sage Home Chef based in Portland, Oregon. Linda and her team specialize in personalized meal preparation and create seasonal menus to accommodate various dietary restrictions. She has extensive knowledge in nutrition relating to women's health, mindful eating, and therapeutic diets. Sage Home Chef won the AI Business Excellence Awards for Oregon's Best Healthy Cuisine Personal Chef Services and Best of Portland Personal Chef Services in 2022. Linda has a degree in Journalism, Social Justice, and Family Studies from the University of St. Thomas and earned an MS in Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland. She currently lives in Portland with her husband and two cats.