I’m the kind of eater who likes my peanut butter sandwich without jelly. Always have, always will.
I ignore the little jam package-cubes on the plate next to the butter package-cubes when toast arrives to the table at the diner. I have jars of jam in my refrigerator only because I teach cooking classes and sometimes I have to use them for a recipe. But if 2 ounces are left over from a 4-ounce recipe the jar will languish in the cold for months before I realize…hey, I’m never gonna use this, let’s throw it out.
Okay. One exception to the rule. And wouldn’t you know it’s the Italians who came up with it.
Crostata Marmellata. I make this recipe mainly because I love saying the name…it’s a poem in two words.
Well, I make it for other reasons, too. I happen to LOVE it. How can that be? The only ingredient in the filling is jam! I imagine that’s the magic of a great recipe. This one is a classic. I first learned from an Italian woman from Piacenza. She would make 3 tarts at a time because they’d get eaten up that fast. What works for me is the ratio of tart dough to jam filling in each bite. Gotta have that ratio. Add a little cup of espresso to your afternoon treat and you’ll feel like you’re hanging in the kitchen of a house in the hills of Rivergaro (of the Colli Piacentini) while the rosemary bushes sway in the breeze outside the door.
Crostata Marmellata – Jam Tart
For the pastry dough:
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), cut into cubes
¼ cup cold white wine
For the filling:
2 10-ounce jars of strawberry, blackberry, or raspberry jam
1 egg, lightly beaten, add tablespoon of water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a 9-inch tart pan.
Add the flour, sugar, salt to the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly with small pea-sized pieces. Add wine. Pulse until mixture comes together as a dough. Turn dough out onto a work surface and press together into a thick disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes-1 hour.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Break off about one third of the dough and keep smaller piece covered in plastic. On a lightly floured surface roll out the larger piece of dough into a round disc about an inch or two larger than the tart pan. Place the dough into the pan and gently fit in into the corners. Trim the edges by pressing the rolling pin over the top.
Dock the pastry with a fork by pricking the bottom with the tips of the fork tines. Spread the jam evenly into the shell.
Now roll out the smaller piece of dough into about 1/8 inch thick. With a knife or pastry wheel cut strips of dough. Fit the strips of dough on top of the tart in a criss-cross design. Make sure to join the strips to the edges. Lightly brush dough with beaten egg wash.
Bake tart about 40 minutes until golden. Let sand for about an hour before serving.