Crostata di Albicocche ~ Apricot Jam Tart 

One of our absolute favourite Italian desserts! You’re sure to find this on every breakfast spread in Italy. That’s right, breakfast. Who needs jam on toast? It’s simply perfect paired with a cappuccino or espresso. 

 

My (Elisa’s) family, especially my Nonni and my Papà, have such fond memories of eating many a crostata in Italy. Albicocche (apricot) Jam is our personal favourite, but of course you can use other fruit jams. Home-made jam is even better but if your favourite fruit is not in season (like apricots for me) store-bought jam is perfectly fine and makes this recipe even easier. Just try and buy the best quality jam. We like to buy apricot jam imported from Italy from our local deli; there’s honestly nothing like Italian apricots!

Crostata alla Marmellata (Jam Tart) is also a common sight in Greek bakeries and pastry shops. There it’s known as ‘Pasta Flora’ where it is also enjoyed for breakfast!

 

This Pasta Frolla (sweet pastry dough) is light and crumbly. Many people like to make their pastry in a food processor but I always make mine by hand. I really enjoy the process of combining the ingredients with my fingers and it gives me complete control of the pastry and it’s texture without it being over-worked. My Pasta Frolla recipe combines a couple of special added ingredients, lemon and brandy, which adds a beautifully subtle fragrance and flavour to the pastry. If you don’t have any brandy on hand, simply leave it out or add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

 

Note: This particular recipe uses store-bought jam. You will need a 10inch/26cm tart tin, ideally with a removable base.

Ingredients

For the pastry dough

  • 300g (2 & 3/4 cups) plain all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 1/2 cup Caster Sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

  • Pinch of Salt

  • 150 grams Butter (unsalted)

  • 1 Egg

  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • Grated zest of 1 Lemon (unwaxed)

  • Tablespoon Brandy (optional OR 1 tsp Vanilla Extract)

 

For the filling

  • 340-370g jar Apricot Jam (or other fruit jam)

 

To decorate

  • Icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

  2. To make the dough, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and pinch of salt into a mound on a work surface or into a large bowl.

  3. Cut the cold butter in small pieces into the flour mixture and with your fingers rub the butter into the flour until you get a crumbly mixture and there are no butter pieces left. (Tip: you don’t want your hands too warm otherwise it will melt the butter. To keep your hands cool, run your fingers under cold water and dry thoroughly if they are heating up too much)

  4. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and egg yolk, lemon zest and brandy and start quickly mixing in the ingredients with a fork or fingertips until it starts to come together.

  5. Once the dough is coming together, knead it lightly and shape into a smooth ball but do not overwork it.

  6. Wrap the dough in cling-wrap and place it in the fridge for at least half an hour to an hour to rest.

  7. After the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge and divide it into two balls, one slightly larger than the other (place the smaller ball back in the fridge).

  8. On a lightly floured bench, use a rolling pin to roll out the larger dough ball into a 12inch circle (slightly bigger circle than your tart tin) to about 3-millimetre thickness. You can also roll it in-between two sheets of parchment paper.

  9. Gently and carefully place the rolled dough into your tart tin, pressing so it adheres to the bottom and sides and patching any holes that might occur. Trim the excess with a knife to smooth out the edge.

  10. Use a fork to prick all over the base of the pastry.

  11. Spread the jam evenly on the surface.

  12. Roll out the smaller dough ball to the same thickness and with a pastry cutter or knife cut 1/4 inch strips of pastry and start placing them across the jam to form a diamond lattice pattern. With a fork, gently seal the edges of the pastry. If you like, gently brush the pastry with a little beaten egg.

  13. Bake the crostata for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the jam is bubbling.

  14. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before carefully removing the tart from the tin. Dust with icing sugar. Serve at room temperature. 

 

Store in an air-tight container for 4 days in a cool spot.