Italian Jam Crostata

Added on by Caroline Zhang.

Guess what? It's my first day of school! Yippee, sophomore year. And so, while Monica is enjoying one more month of summer break (lucky butt), Boston has been drilling it into me that it is most definitely not summer anymore.  It was 90 degrees when I left Indiana, and 64 degrees when the plane landed in Boston the same afternoon.

And so, instead of finishing unpacking or figuring out my classes, I'm going to talk about this crostata, which I made a few days ago, which reminds me of summer and hot, humid Italy and its vicious mosquitoes that eat you alive. Take that, Boston weather.

This is pretty different from the Blueberry Crostata

that Monica posted a couple of months ago. While hers was more of a pie, this is a shortbread tart filled with jam, and is more cookie-like.

I love the beautiful simplicity of this tart that yields such a rich and delicious flavor. The jam filling is thick and sweet, but not too sweet, and goes perfectly with the buttery shortbread.

See? These are all the ingredients you need to make this crostata.

You can either use store-bought jam or make your own.  I would suggest making it yourself if you have time, so that you have more control over the sweetness. You'll be spreading a lot of jam on the tart, and the sweetness becomes more concentrated through the baking process.

For the dough, whisk together the flour, sugar, and slat, and work in the butter and eggs with your hands, or a pastry cutter.

Refrigerate it for about an hour.

And now, make your jam! If you're using store-bought jam, I'd suggest mixing in about a tablespoon of lemon juice so that it's not too sweet. Cook your jam ingredients in a pot until it thickens.

To test for thickness, place a dollop of jam on a chilled plate and refrigerate for about 3 minutes. You should see that a think skin has formed on top that wrinkles when you touch it with your finger.

Divide your dough in half, with one half being slightly bigger, and roll out the larger half into a 10-inch circle. 

Place it onto a greased baking sheet, spread the jam on it, and roll out the rest of the dough and cut it into 3/4-inch strips.

Lay four strips on the jam:

Fold back every other strip, and lay down a strip across the remaining two strips. 

Return the two strips to their original position so that they are now lying on top of the strip you just laid down, and fold back the other two strips.

Lay down another strip.

Keep on doing this until the lattice covers the whole tart...

Then roll the edges of the circle towards the center, until it touches the jam.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-35 minutes until golden brown, and enjoy!

Enjoy, all!

-Caroline


Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 cup jam (see below for homemade jam)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For homemade jam:
4 cups fresh fruit (such as blueberries,  pitted cherries, apricots, or peaches)
⅔ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
½ cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Directions
Make the crust.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.

Add the butter, egg, and egg yolk. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter and eggs into the flour to form a smooth dough. Refrigerate for an hour.

Prepare the jam. If you are using store-bought jam that is very sweet, mix in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, since the baking process will intensify its sweetness.

If you are making the jam, place the fruit, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the jam has thickened. To check if it is thick enough, place a small spoonful onto a chilled plate and refrigerate for 3 minutes. When you push the jam with your finger, it should have formed a skin on top. Let the jam cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Assemble the crostata. Divide the dough in half, with one half slightly bigger than the other. Roll out the larger half into a 10-inch circle and place on a greased baking sheet. Spread the jam over the dough, leaving a one-inch border.

To make the lattice crust on top, roll the other half into a 10-inch circle. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the circle into about ¾-inch strips.

Lay four strips on top of the jam, parallel to each other and equally spaced. Fold back every other strip.

Lay another strip of dough on top of the two strips that are not folded back. Unfold the two folded strips and lay them down on top of the strip you just added. Fold back the two strips that were not folded over before, lay down another strip, and repeat until the top of the crostata is covered.

Roll the edges of the crostata towards the center, until they touch the jam. Bake the crostata for 25-35 minutes, until golden on top. Let cool until it is only warm, and serve.