Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Crostata di Marmellata (Jam Tart)

Posted by bakinghistory on January 23, 2008

crostata-artusi-4.jpg
A traditional Italian jam tart
This is my entry for the event hosted by Erin from Skinny Gourmet, for which participants should post about a food that for them evokes memories and stories. My entry is a jam tart, a dessert rather simple and homey in itself, yet never boring or dull. This is the first kind of baked goods that as a little girl I learned to make from my mother. It was easy and quick to assemble, improved with time, and was our favorite to have with tea. In Italian we called it a crostata di marmellata. It evokes memories of many happy, precious hours spent with my mother in the kitchen, watching her preparing food and learning from her. We always used the following recipe to make pastafrolla—a perfect shortcrust pastry: sweet and buttery but not too rich, tender and crumbly yet sturdy enough to hold the filling.
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From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi
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In: La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” , 1891–Italy
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Ingredients
2 cups (250 g) AP flour, unbleached
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1/2 cup (125 g) unsalted butter, diced
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1/2 cup (110 g) sugar
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1 medium egg
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1 yolk
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1 cup (260 g) fruit jam (such as apricot, plum, or sour cherry)
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If the granulated sugar is coarse, it is preferable to process it briefly in a food processor or coffee grinder. Mix flour and sugar, then work the butter in with the tip of your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and work briefly until the dough just holds together.
It is important not to overwork the dough (do not knead it) or it will harden when baked.
A food processor works perfectly to make the dough: start by placing flour and sugar in the work bowl, process for a few seconds to mix, then add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the egg and yolk and process a few seconds more until the dough forms. Do not overprocess.
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Wrap the dough in wax paper and let it rest in a cool place for at least 30 minutes.
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On a lightly floured board roll 2/3 of the pastry dough to a 1/8-in (3 mm) thickness, and line with it the bottom and sides of a 9-in (23 cm) tart pan with scalloped edges and a removable bottom. The sides should be lined with a slightly thicker layer of pastry than the bottom, about 1/4-in (0.5 cm). Fold back in the dough that is hanging over the sides to make a thicker lining along the sides. Cut of excess. Prick the pastry bottom with the tines of a fork in a few places, then spread with the jam. Do not use a deep tart mold.
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Roll the remaining pastry on a lightly floured board slightly thicker than 1/8-in (3 mm), then with a sharp knife or pastry cutter cut it in strips 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) wide and make a lattice on top of the jam layer. There might be some leftover pastry. I usually make a few cookies with it, or tartlets.
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You can see how the lattice should look here.
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Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake the tart until golden, about 25 minutes. Unmold the tart as soon as it is ready and let it cool on a rack. If left in the pan it will turn irremediably soggy. It is great freshly baked but it definitely improves after a day or two, if kept in a closed container.
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A note on the fruit jam: select a jam that is relatively low in sugar, 38% to 40% content of sugar is best; jams that contain a higher percentage of sugar tend to be adversely affected by the baking temperatures, turning sticky and ruining the final result.
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9 Responses to “Crostata di Marmellata (Jam Tart)”

  1. Ann said

    What a beautiful tart! It reminds me of cooking with my grandmother, who always let my sister and I make little tarts out of scraps of pie crust dough. of course, ours were not as beautiful as your! But we did love filling them with different jams and then trying to decide which flavor we liked the best.

  2. Simona said

    Very nice. It reminds me of my aunt’s Lucia crostata. Yours looks lovely.

  3. That is a stunning tart, and a lovely story. I have many happy memories of working with my mother in the kitchen, and it is amazing how different foods can quickly evoke those happy times.

  4. bakinghistory said

    Thanks! It is always amazing how powerful foods are in transporting us back in time, eliciting memories and feelings and reconnecting us with loved ones.

  5. Cakespy said

    How delicious. This reminds me too of times past, of a baked good made by a friend of my mothers / bakery proprietress. It looks truly lovely!

  6. bakinghistory said

    @ Cakespy: Thank you! And thanks for visiting!!

  7. sciopina said

    Very good..
    I just love this kind of cake..
    Nice winter idea..
    A presto
    sciopina

  8. Francesca said

    this is my favourite cake! Nice to meet you :-)

  9. bakinghistory said

    Ciao Francesca. Thanks for visiting! :-)

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