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Italian Fruit Tart

Italian fruit tart

Italian fruit tart

Do you have indelible food memories, a library of tastes that when encountered, instantly transport you through space and time? I have many.

Jam tarts were a commercial cake shop staple during my childhood. Usually the pastry was thick and gluey, the jam so heavily sweetened that the flavour of the fruit was indiscernible. I found it easy to refuse those jam tarts.

It was only to be a polite that I accepted a modest piece of plum jam tart in an Italian home during my first visit overseas, 22 years ago. It was a revelation. The biscuit crust was buttery and crisp, it melted in my mouth and the filling of plum jam was tart and fruity, distinctively plum.

The memory of that tart has stayed with me but I had never tried to replicate the delicious flavour for fear of spoiling that long held memory, then, a few weeks ago I made plum jam, tart plum jam. The flavour sent me instantly to Italy 1997, and to search for a reliable recipe for a simple Italian pasta frolla, sweet shortcrust pastry.

There’s no one better than Marcella Hazan’s to turn to for authentic Italian food, so, guided by her recipe for  La Crostata di Mamma in The Second Book of Classic Italian Food, I recreated my ultimate Italian jam tart. The pastry was sublime.

My long held memory of that Italian jam tart is thankfully still intact. The simple plum jam tart I made was incredibly delicious, especially with a dollop of whipped cream. This pastry recipe will be my sweet shortcrust of choice in the future.

Crostata di Frutta

250g plain flour

110g castor sugar

Tiny pinch of salt

110g butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons milk

finely grated zest of 1/4 lemon

2 egg yolks

150g good quality fruit jam

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients then add the lemon zest, butter, egg yolks and milk.

Mix everything together until the dough form, then knead lightly until smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Put the dough into a covered container and chill for 30 minutes.

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

Divide the dough into thirds.

Take 2/3 of the dough, place it on a sheet of baking paper.

Place a second piece of baking paper over the dough then roll into a neat circle about 1 cm thick.

Lift the pastry, on the paper onto a baking tray.

Stir the jam to loosen the texture then spread it over the dough leaving a 1cm margin at the edge.

Roll the small piece of dough 1 cm thick then cut into strips about 1 cm wide.

Make a lattice with the pastry strips over the jam.

Take the remaining scraps and roll into a sausage about 1 cm thick. 

Lay the pastry roll around the edge of the tart, push down gently to seal.

Smooth edges neatly.

Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

27 comments on “Italian Fruit Tart

  1. Angela
    March 25, 2019

    Hello,
    I am on a plum baking binge at the moment and would love to make your plum jam.
    Would you be able to post a recipe of your jam so that I can make some …to freeze (which never occurred to me to do and is a brilliant idea) and to make this tart?
    Also what plums do your recommend?
    Many thanks,
    Angela

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2019

      Hi Angela, I prefer blood plums for their ruby coloured flesh when I make jam. I have never posted a recipe for plum jam but if you refer to my raspberry making jam post in the link below the procedure is the same, you just need to wash, deseed and chop the plums. Good luck with your jam making endeavours, Sandra https://wp.me/p2frs2-1p0

      Like

      • Angela
        March 25, 2019

        Thank you for your very speedy reply. It is much appreciated.
        I have never made jam before but more than willing to give it a try.
        Just wondering about the Queen Garnet plum. I know the scientist who engineered to plum so it is close to my heart. Would that variety suit plum jam?
        Thanks again,
        Angela

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        March 25, 2019

        I know of the qualities of the Queen Garnet plum, have eaten them fresh but never made jam with them though. Red fleshed plums make wonderful jam so I wouldn’t hesitate. The link I sent you will walk you through beginner steps to making jam. Again, good luck…

        Like

      • Angela
        March 25, 2019

        Thank you. You are a gem…..must be because you live in Brisbane, where I live!

        Like

  2. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    March 23, 2019

    Gosh I have such a strong memory of my first crostata too, and how the pastry was like a shortcrust but different, tho I wasn’t quite sure what it was at the time… I have so much jam stashed too – two full shelves – so I’ll definitely be making this!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 25, 2019

      Hope you enjoy the crostata recipe as much as we did Beck, the pastry recipe is a beaut

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim Bultman
    March 23, 2019

    Sandra, food memories… ah yes. (So many here, too!) Thank you for sharing your “go to” sweet shortcrust recipe from now on, as well as this jam tart. Both sound wonderful!

    Like

  4. Francesca
    March 22, 2019

    Delicious. I have also tasted the best crostata di frutta in Italy. It is one dessert they excel at. ( I have to say, there aren’t that many). I glad you have used Hazan;s recipe here- I am always in search of a good Pasta Frolla recipe and trust your opinion and testing of this. I have far too much jam stashed.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      I would have thought as Almost Italian you would have been all over this one. I can’t recommend the pastry recipe highly enough, a great way to use up some of that jam stash

      Like

  5. Conor Bofin
    March 22, 2019

    We grew up with a set of tarts as you describe. Claggy pastry filled with over-sweet fruit goo. Yours is as far as possible from that. Bravo.

    Like

  6. Debi @ An Evolving Life
    March 22, 2019

    Ooh…I love jam crostatas. I try (but don’t always achieve) to have a stash of sweet crostata dough in the freezer for just such a recipe – can be assembled as soon as defrosting happens when unexpected guests turn up for dinner! Oh and there is always homemade jam in the larder. Favourites for crostatas are apricot or plum. You are right – start with the best ingredients; no nasty jam.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      We were so impressed with Hazan’s pasta frolla that I made a decision to keep tart sized portions in the freezer. Like you there is always homemade jam in the freezer, although I regret not making more apricot jam this summer, it was a particularly good season. I really think we are simpatico….

      Like

  7. marymtf
    March 22, 2019

    A dab of JeReviens perfume is my time machine.
    I do remember the commercial fruit tarts. Look forward to trying the real thing.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      Perfumes are incredibly evocative do you feel young again when you wear it?

      Like

  8. Sherry MacKay
    March 22, 2019

    i have really pretty bad memories of mum’s jam tarts. they were just frozen pastry with some cheap and nasty jam on top, and baked. at least the jam was red:) I/m sure yours was delicious…

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      This was a totally different experience to the horror of jam tarts from my childhood, seriously delicious

      Like

  9. Ron
    March 22, 2019

    A light jam tart is an art and I believe it’s an art you have mastered. I have vivid food memories and love it when one occurs. Funny how food ties one to the past. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, I don’t go oh I remember doing that in July of 1997. But, I can taste a dish or spoon of food and zoom I’m right back there.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      Isn’t food memory amazing Ron, this simple jam tart sent me way back.

      Like

  10. Italian Goodness
    March 21, 2019

    Looks delicious! And it reminds me of a tart that my aunt use to make me when I was a child!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 22, 2019

      Childhood food memories are intensely evocative and need to be revisited. Give yourself a treat with a crostata di frutta

      Liked by 1 person

  11. malgay651
    March 21, 2019

    The taste was more subtle than you expect from what you see.
    The pastry was amongst the best I can recall and the jam was the perfect partner to the pastry.
    More please🙏

    Like

  12. creativeshare
    March 21, 2019

    Thanks, Sandra. I WILL be making this very soon, it looks delicious.

    Like

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