Ciao! Cara here. Today on my way to work I found myself behind a car sporting a simple bumper sticker with the message “Love People. Feed Them Tasty Food.” This, I thought, sums up why I cook and bake. Nourishing people with good food brings me great joy and satisfaction.
The act of preparing food nourishes my spirit, as well. Much of my day is spent in the intellectual, analytical realm. Preparing food is a much more primal activity, involving taste, smell, and often, touch. It requires a balance of process and experimentation, structure and improvisation.
A jam crostata, or crostata di marmellata, is a perfect expression of this. A simple and traditional dessert made of fragrant pasta frolla dough covered with the fruit jam of your choice, it’s a classic in Italian kitchens, served with coffee when guests stop by or for breakfast as a sweet and gentle start to the day.
Crostata can be paired with Vin Santo, an Italian dessert wine with a thick, viscous texture and nut, toffee, caramel and raisin flavors. Vin Santo has a crisp acidity that balances the sweetness of the jam and goes well with the crostata’s shortbread-like crust.
Vin Santo, which means Holy Wine, reportedly acquired its name during the 14th century in the Tuscan countryside near the city of Siena when wine left-over from mass was used to cure illness and disease. A favorite of our is a Vin Santo by Fattoria del Teso.
- 200 grams flour
- 8 grams Lievito Pane degli Angeli
- 80 grams sugar
- 80 grams butter, cubed
- 1 egg
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 12 oz. jar of the jam of your choice
- Add the flour, Lievito Pane degli Angeli (or baking powder), sugar, butter, egg and lemon zest to a mixing bowl.
- Mix on medium speed with a stand mixer until the dough is combined.
- Shape into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Remove the pasta frolla from the refrigerator and separate it into two pieces – one piece made up of about 2/3 of the dough, and the second piece made up of the remaining 1/3.
- Sprinkle flour onto a smooth surface and roll out the larger piece of dough until it is big enough to fill the base and sides of your tart pan.
- Line the tart pan with the rolled-out dough, pressing it in so that it is equal in thickness on the bottom and on the sides. Trim any excess dough around the rim of the pan.
- Trim any excess dough around the rim of the pan.
- Use a spatula to spread the jam over the surface of the dough.
- Arrange the strips of pasta frolla in a lattice pattern on top, taking care to seal the edges of the lattice with the crust.
- Bake at 350° F (180° C) for 30 minutes.
- Let the crostata cool before serving.
A fluted tart pan with a removable bottom makes for a lovely torta. If you don't have one, a spring form pan or even a pie dish will work.
2 teaspoons of baking powder can be used instead of Lievito Pane degli Angeli, if needed.