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 is one of the things I find most pleasurable.
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.
La 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.
Crostata di marmellata
Crostata di marmellata, is 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.
- 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.
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