This is my grandmother's crostata, it's beautiful, tasty and most of all- very easy to make. I had some friends over for dinner and since my menu was of the Italian inclination, it gave me the perfect opportunity to make it, (not that I really needed an excuse). It was sort of a last minute affair so we made a simple one dish meal of Pasta Pepperonata with Italian Sausage, a beautiful arugula and Cannellinni bean salad and for dessert I served the raspberry crostata. This was an easy and very satisfying meal which did not require a whole lot of work. I wish I would have had time to photograph everything, but eating and enjoying the food sort of got in the way! The crostata, I had prepared the day before, so it made it to the blog.
You may use any kind of jam or preserves you like, I have used apricot, strawberry and pineapple before- they all taste really yummy. I also really like that the ingredients are simple are most likely to be in my pantry at any given time. The dough for the crostata is sort of between a cake and a pie dough. The directions may sound a little odd, but this was my grandmother's recipe and I'm not going to change it. The only difference in the preparation from hers and mine is that I use a pastry blender and she used a fork. The measurements for the flour are in grams because that is how she gave them to me, when I make it again I will measure in cups after weighing and update the recipe.
Italian Jam Crostata
300 grams all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
150 grams cold butter, cut into small pieces
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of your favorite jam or preserves
Preheat oven to 400 F
1.Butter a 9" springform pan and set aside.
2. Place flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add the eggs. With a pastry blender or fork, start incorporating the eggs into the flour. Add the butter and work into the dough for a couple of minutes. (the dough will be in clumps).
3. Add the sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Continue to work the dough with the fork or pastry blender until is it very crumbly. At this point I start working the dough with my hands until it starts coming together, I do this is the bowl to avoid kneading it on the counter and incorporating too much flour. Once the dough comes together it will be a little sticky.
4. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough a couple of times, then make a ball and cut off one third of it with a knife. (for the lattice)
5. Roll out the larger ball of dough into about a nine inch circle and press into the springform pan. Making sure the dough is evenly distributed in the pan. Prick the dough with a fork, then add the preserves spreading evenly.
6. Make little balls out of the reserved dough and roll each one into a strip- these do not need to be all even and perfect. Place the strips over the jam, pressing lightly at the edges to adhere them to the crust.
7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. You may serve it warm with some whipped cream or ice cream, or by itself at room temperature. The crostata will keep covered at room temperature for 1 week. (mine never lasts that long!)