Jam Tart (Crostata di Marmellata)

As frequent readers of this blog know, my family hails from Germany and Switzerland, and we love-love-love traditional alpine heritage foods…in particular, I (blush) desserts. So it’s natural that I’d be attracted to this tart, with its nummy buttery-sweet crust and jammy fruit filling, so akin to Linzertorte. Fabulous. So if you happen to have any yummy-plummy jam hanging around and are hankering for a sweet foil for your lightly sweetened chevre, bake up this tart and plop a dollop of the cheese on top and dig in.

I am including two pictures for this recipe, as some of you may prefer to poach plums and glaze them with plum jam, to lessen the sweetness of the filling. For those who don’t mind pure jam, jump to the bottom for the crostata pictured with jam and lattice crust top.

Start out with the recipe for the tart base:

Pasta Frolla (Sweet Pastry Dough)

This version of pasta frolla is rich and buttery, enhanced with a little lemon and orange zest. It has a crumbly shortbread texture when baked. Be sure to chill the dough thoroughly — for at least 1 hour — after making it (overnight is fine). Remove it from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before rolling it out so that the butter softens and the dough becomes pliable. Use a lightly floured surface to roll out the dough and do not overwork it. Too much flour and handling will yield a tough dough.

Makes enough dough for one 9-inch or 11-inch lattice-top crostata

Ingredients

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Finely grated zest of 1 small orange

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon and orange zests in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg and egg yolks and process until the dough just begins to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it together. Knead it briefly and shape it into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until well chilled (overnight is fine). Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes, or until it is just pliable enough to roll, but not too soft to work with.

Cook’s Note: If you make a 9-inch crostata, you will have some leftover dough, which you can rewrap and freeze for future use, or roll out, cut into shapes and make cookies. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Now for the tart itself:

Crostata Di Marmellata (Jam Crostata)

I like the contrast of deep plum preserves against the golden lattice of the baked crostata, but just about any type of good-quality preserves will make a lovely tart, so use your favorite. This recipe is adapted from The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy (Chronicle Books, 2006).

Makes one 9-inch lattice-top crostata

1 batch pasta frolla, ready to roll out

1 1/2 cups plum, blackberry or other fruit preserves

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Sweetened Chevre, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Cut the dough disk into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. Rewrap the smaller portion and refrigerate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion into an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker. Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin and drape it over a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the rolling pin or the flat of your hand to press around the perimeter of the pan to cut off any excess dough. Put the lined tart pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator. Spoon the jam into the shell and smooth it with a spatula. Roll out the remaining dough portion into a 10-inch round about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker, and use a fluted pastry wheel to cut it into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Carefully place the strips over the filled tart in a lattice pattern, gently pressing the ends of the strips into the sides of the tart shell. Use the flat of your hand to gently cut off any excess dough.

Bake the crostata for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Remove the rim of the tart pan and transfer the crostata to a decorative serving platter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Serve with a dollop of sweetened fresh goat cheese, whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.

This recipe in its entirety comes from NPR’s The Kitchen Window, one of my favorite sources:)

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