As lot of people, I do like jam filled crostata pie! It is genuine, simple, yet incredibly tempting. A few tricks can make this cake amazing! You may encounter plenty of different recipes: one dough for countless toppings. So, let’s get started!
When can you eat crostata?
This cake makes a perfect breakfast for the whole family, or a toothsome snack in between the meals. Delicious on its own, it perfectly combines with a cup of milk, or coffee, or even some fresh juice.
No birthday parties can do without a good “crostata” with jam (or topped with fresh fruit!). it is a good ahead recipe: prepare it and cut it into single serving slices, it keeps fresh up to some days at room temperature and can be easily brought everywhere: it makes a good snack at school for your children, you can take it to your office, or it fits a picnic in the countryside, or a walk in the mountain.
What is the difference between Crostata and galette?
Only the birthplace makes the difference: crostata is Italian, galette comes from France. That’s all!
Jam filled crostata pie is the classic of the classics: fragrant shortbread pastry with a scrumptious jam filling. Of course, the jam is to your taste. You may encounter plenty of variations, they are all very similar and toothsome- my favorite? No way! Strawberry or wild strawberry jam or the more elaborate stracciatella crostata with ricotta and chocolate chips.
Why is crostata so toothsome?
The crunchy, fragrant shortbread pastry is deliciously paired with the soft tender filling which lies on the top without overflowing.
I am not very good at making the cross-hatch pattern on the top of the crostata but they let the crostata keep its shape and when cold it can be sliced easily. You can eat it without getting your hands dirty; no plates, no breadcrumbs!
Choose the right ingredients for the perfect crostata:
- Eggs: buy only extra fresh ones because you will use only one whole egg and one yolk. For a more colorful shortbread pastry, opt for the eggs you use to make fresh pasta. The special animal feed, that hens eat, make the egg yolks “more” red; it is a safe natural pigment, the astaxanthin.
- Flour type 00 fits this recipe, but I usually combine it with a little cornflour: it makes the dough more rustic and crunchy. You may use only white flour to your taste (you can’t use only corn flour because the cake would fall apart)
- Butter: only super fresh organic. You may replace 120g of butter with 80g of seed oil and follow this method. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy and light; then pour the oil a little at a time and combine well; finally stir in the flour.
- Sugar: you need very little caster sugar. Some pastry chefs prefer powdered sugar because it is blended with the other ingredients better; on the other hand I often replace it with brown cane sugar, for a more rustic taste. Do you want a very tasteful variation? Combine 100g of sugar with 30g multi-floral honey. It will be super delicious!
- Lemon zest and/or vanilla flavoring. If you want a stronger aroma, add grated orange or tangerine, or lime peel. You may also mixed them together.
- Baking powder: little baking powder makes the dough flaky and tender at the same time. It is an extra ingredients and you may well replace it with a pinch of baking soda.
What can you fill crostata with?
Jam is the most loved filling! Your favorite or what you have in your pantry: from strawberry or mixed berry jam, to peach or apple one. Marmalade fits perfectly, as well. You may also choose light low glycemic index jam or any fruit preserves to your taste.
What about a few special variations? I really like the “stracciatella”: strain 500g of sheep ricotta cheese and mix it with 150g of sugar, and 50 g of chocolate chips; stir until well combined and spread it on the pastry shell evenly. Make the strips to top the cake and bake according to the following instructions. Do you want to exaggerate? Here you are:
- Melt 200g of dark chocolate with 40g of butter en “bain marie”;
- Add 100ml of cream and 1 egg;
- Stir until well combined and let it cool down;
- Prick the dough and spread the filling; bake according to the following instructions;
- Take it out of the oven, sprinkle with plenty of chopped hazelnut or pistachio nut.
Fail proof crostata:
- If the dough falls apart, add very little cold water or the remaining cold egg white; the dough will immediately get more compact and elastic;
- The shortbread results too dry: when you prepare it next time, add a pinch of baking powder:
- You can’t roll out the dough easily: use a rolling pin to roll it between two sheets of parchment paper; you won’t break it;
- Take your time because shortbread must refrigerate for at least 40 minutes; the dough will get compact, hard, and easy to roll;
- If the dough has refrigerated too much, quickly knead it again (without warming it too much) and then roll;
- When you roll the dough, do not use too much flour because it will make the surface of the cake gray and opaque;
- The latice pattern is not only a nice decoration, but it prevents the jam from burning when the cake is in the oven; a regular pattern will guarantee an even baking;
- If you can’t make strips because the dough falls apart, you may also cut the dough into nice shapes with a cookie cutter; the decoration and the baking will be perfect as well;
- Prick the dough with the tongs of a fork before spreading the filling to prevent it from swelling;
- Some dough has left: wrap it into cling film and refrigerate or freeze it up to a month.
Choose the right baking pan
Aluminium baking pans best fit this recipe as they provide a more even baking, hence a flakier and crumblier dough. China or ceramics baking pans are very nice, you will bake a wonderful cake, but it will be different from the flaky crumbly crostata you want.
This recipe wants a 20-22cm (8 inches) diameter round pan.
Jam Filled Crostata Italian Pie, all the trick for simple but very toothsome cake
- 250 gr flour type 00 (pastry flour or patent flour) + some to roll the dough
- 50 gr cornflour
- 150 gr organic butter
- 130 gr caster sugar or powdered sugar or 100 of sugar and 30g of honey
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- a Pinch salt
- 300-400 gr jam
- Half a vanilla pod or vanilla extract (extra)
- A pinch of baking powder for a more tender shortbread (extra)
- Sift the flour onto a pastry board or in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment;
- Add salt, sugar, the diced cold butter, and mix until a crumbly texture;
- With the mixer running, slowly add the slightly beaten whole egg and the yolk;
- Add the lemon zest (grate at this time),
- Transfer the dough on the pastry board and knead it quickly until it starts to come together. Watch out: it must not become too sticky, elastic or compact. If it is sticky, add some more flour. Knead until a smooth ball forms;
- Wrap it into cling film and refrigerate for two hours or overnight in the lowest compartment of the fridge;
- Butter and flour a round baking pan;
- Roll 2/3 of the dough; a cold marble board would fit this operation the best, but if you don’t have one, roll the dough on a sheet of parchment paper;
- Sprinkle the surface and roll to 1/8’’ thickness,
- Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer it to the baking pan;
- Press the dough to the sides of the pan;
- Trim the dish of extra dough;
- Prick the dough with the tongs of a fork;
- Evenly spread the jam in the shell; level it with a spoon. Watch out: do not fill it until the top of the shell, otherwise the jam will unpleasantly overflow;
- Let the shell sit in the fridge;
- Make a lattice pattern to decorate: knead the remaining dough and roll it out. Make sure the shortbread is cold and compact, then cut strips with a pastry wheel. If the dough is too soft or warm, refrigerate it for 20 minutes otherwise the strips will fall apart;
- Cut from 6 (3+3) to 9 (4+5) 1(1,5) cm thick stripes;
- Place the strips onto the shell: form a bottom layers of evenly spaced strips and then criss-cross with more strips. Gently press together and trim away the extra strips;
- Pre-heat the oven at 180°C (356°F); in the meanwhile let the cake sit in the fridge again; it will keepsits shape more easily;
- Bake for about 30 minutes until golden: it mustn’t get too dark,
- Let it cool down (no less than 20 minutes) and remove the crostata from the baking pan;
- Serve it completely cool when all the flavors have combined evenly.
How can you store crostata?
Crostata keeps fresh up to two weeks in a cake container at room temperature; it may also be frozen up to 2 months.