As you prepare this recipe for traditional Italian crostata, a jam-filled tart, your kitchen will be flooded with a wonderful, homey aroma. Made from a sweet, buttery shortcrust pastry base, crostata is usually filled with apricot or cherry jam but there are also versions made with crema pasticcera (pastry cream), chocolate, or even sweetened ricotta cheese. Watch trained pastry chef Valeria and her assistant Benedetta, the Foodie Sisters in Italy, prepare this delicious sweet treat.
500g 00-type flour
175g icing sugar
300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g egg yolks (approx 3-4 eggs), at room temperature
50g whole egg (approx 1 egg), at room temperature
Half a vanilla pod
Jam, for filling
Place the butter and icing sugar into a stand mixer or large bowl and mix until smooth.
Gradually add the egg and egg yolks (about one egg at a time) until they are fully combined into the mixture.
Remove the seeds from half a vanilla pod and add these to the mixture along with a pinch of salt.
Whisk in about a quarter of the flour until absorbed then add the rest and continue to mix for no more than a minute. The ingredients should be only just mixed as you will continue to work the dough when you roll it out.
Use your hands to shape the dough into a rectangle then wrap in plastic film and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least 2 hours.
When you are ready to make your tart, preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F and remove the pastry from the fridge. Lightly flour your work surface and use a rolling pin to flatten the pastry into a round shape (you can choose your preferred thickness). Try to work quickly before the dough becomes too soft.
Use the pastry sheet to line a fluted tart tin, push down into the corners with your fingers and patch up any holes that might appear. Cut off any excess edges, saving the extra dough. Fill the pastry case with your chosen jam, again you decide how much you use, more jam will make the tart sweeter. Use a sharp knife or pastry cutters to make your decorations from the extra dough and place them across the top of the tart.
Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden.