Crostata di Marmellata

The crostata is one of those much-loved homemade baked goods that comes in many forms and varieties that many Italians grew up with. These days you can find them in every single bar or café in Florence and Tuscany, usually a version filled with apricot jam or blackberry jam, to be eaten with a cappuccino for your breakfast or mid-morning snack.

The crostata di marmellata is one of those things that every now and then the sweet tooth in me totally gives in to – the industrial ones that you find in shops give you a sugar fix that rivals that of any chocolate bar, but a rustic homemade crostata is a whole different thing: tasty, jammy, sweet and so comforting you begin to believe it’s good for you. And it’s the perfect thing to get you through a slow afternoon, if you ask me. I still can’t do crostata for breakfast, but many I know would.

My husband grew up with the homemade variety and looking at my mother-in-law’s copy of Artusi, this I can tell – the page that lists his pasta frolla recipe, the pastry base for crostata, is the page that the well-read book automatically opens to. In it are also scraps of paper with my mother-in-law’s handwriting of other versions of crostata, perhaps scribbled down from friends or a cooking show.

The thing about the homemade crostata is that it is so incredibly easy, so don’t skimp out on making your own pastry or not using anything but the nicest quality, organic ingredients you can find. The pastry recipe is taken from Artusi’ cookbook (no. 589, Recipe B – he gives 3 different variations):

  • 250 grams of flour
  • 125 grams of cold butter
  • 110 grams of sugar (icing sugar is the best, otherwise fine caster sugar)
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • zest of 1 lemon

For the filling, use your absolute favourite jam: if it’s homemade, even better (about 200 grams should do it).

To make the pastry, chop the cold butter into small pieces and add to the flour and sugar. I always use my hands for this next bit but you can do this in a food processor if you like. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until you get a crumbly mixture and there are no more visible pieces of butter. Mix in the lemon zest and beaten egg plus an extra yolk until the pastry comes together into a smooth, elastic ball. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Artusi says if you do this the day before, even better.

After resting, roll out about ¾ of the pastry to cover your pie dish. The rest of the pastry, roll out to make strips, about 2cm wide to create a lattice for the top of your crostata. Fill the pie with your favourite jam and place your lattice strips over the top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes or until it is golden brown. You’ll earn instant Italian kitchen credit worthy of any Nonna with this recipe.

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Comments

17 Responses to “Crostata di Marmellata”
  1. Alexandra says:

    i had intensive crostata lessons from the nonna in Taranto. Indeed easy though somehow anything that involves hand-kneeding and a patry board makes me pause and reconsider. Yours looks SO good – i hate those thick, high commercial ones.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Emiko, your blog is absolutely inspiring, and your photos are lovely! Though I practice a fair bit of kitchen alchemy myself, your stuff makes me feel like a culinary schlubb. This crostata, for instance, gives me a serious inferiority complex–that and suddenly I’m hankering after something sweet…

  3. I really admire your photos. The light is amazing.

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks so much, Mette! I prefer natural light for photos, which sometimes calls for getting creative in setting up the shots, especially in winter. Come on, Spring!

  4. A great idea is to substitute about 50 grams of almond flour (just grind it in a coffee grinder) for flour. I also like to use a bit of whole wheat flour instead of all white. Less of a ‘perfect pastry’ taste but much healthier.

    • Emiko says:

      Nice idea, I’ll try it out. I’ve also tried it with chestnut flour replacing half of the regular flour but it becomes quite crumbly and falls apart easily – tasty though!

  5. JK says:

    Might want to try this, Emiko. Still have some home made rubarb/ strawberry jam in my pantry, I must say I like the almond idea. Would be a grand choice with vanilla/Plum jam which I’m out of unfortunately.

  6. Rosmarina says:

    Wow Emiko, I just discovered your blog and I simply love it. I love to see my country and its dishes through your eyes… You know, for an Italian girl crostata is the simplest and even tritest thing on earth. I think I never ever made one… “That’s too normal”, this was my thought until now. But, hey, this post, this photo, this attention and love you let transpire… I swear, I see the classical crostata through a different eye, now. It’s wonderful to think that the simplest thing for me can be so inspiring and inviting and interesting for someone else… And, as I say, this make you think, “then maybe crostata is not taken for granted for the whole world… Maybe it can be fun to try to make it.” So… Thank you!

    • Emiko says:

      Thanks Rosmarina – it’s really so special to hear this! I’m so glad to have given you another perspective on crostata! The simple, homely things can never be taken for granted, they’re the sort of thing we’ll keep coming back to because they remind us of something our mothers or grandmothers made… plus, there’s nothing like homemade crostata! :)

  7. Crostata always reminds me of holidays in Tuscany when I was little. My brother and I would always argue over the raspberry and black cherry versions in our local bakery, but both were always delicious. Lovely to have a recipe to try out now :-)

    • Emiko says:

      I agree, I oscillate between which version is my favourite, but raspberry and black cherry or black berry always win over the apricot ones ;)

  8. Margarita says:

    Ciao, Emiko! As soon as I saw this blog post I skipped to the recipe, went to my kitchen to make the frolla, then went back to reading the rest of the post once the dough was resting in the fridge.
    I was Tuscany for a culinary internship and I remember having to make crostate everyday for the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Your recipe is fantastic and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Reading through it brings back memories of my days under the Tuscan sun. Cheers! :)

  9. Angie says:

    Alas, I come to your blog once again but this time under a different circumstance! Tommy’s nursery is celebrating ‘international day’ tomorrow and we are all to bring typical treats from their respective countries. As he is a child of the world, tomorrow we are featuring homemade cornbread, and pigs in the blanket for his American side and a good ol’ fashion apricot crostata to celebrate his Italian side. I write this to you as I let the dough sit in the fridge and hoping it turns out well. In all my years in Italy I never made one- and I’m asking myself, “why”? That was way too easy!
    Was going to make your frittele di riso recipe and decided against smelling like oil at 9pm…so crostata it is!
    I’ve recently signed up for a chocolate and bread making amateur course at a professional cooking school here in Dubai to add a little spark to my cooking knowledge as I have been feeling bored and rusty lately in the kitchen. Hugs from the desert!

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