Explainers

How to make crostata

A perfectly flaky crust and tart filling makes this blackberry and apple crostata recipe an Italian dessert worth the effort.
A golden crostata with a pastry lattice top brushed with sugar. The filling is deep red from blackberries, apples and ginger, and a single slice has been cut out.

Photo: James Moffatt

James Moffatt
8 - 10
25M
1H 15M
1H 40M

Well executed basics are at the heart of this Italian crostata, as with many Italian desserts. Pasta frolla is the sweet pastry dough of Italy, dating back to the late Renaissance; while marmellata is a jammy preserve that makes the most of bright berries. Notably, crostatas differ from tortas, typically by its filling: crostatas have a more rustic chunky filling, whereas tortas have a smooth, blended filling. In this instance we’ve made a sweet blackberry and apple filling that’s offset by warming ginger.

Looking for variations on the perfect sweet pie? Check out our best sweet pie recipes. For those lacking a sweet tooth, never fear: we’ve got an extensive collection of our favourite savoury pies over here.

Step 1

For pasta frolla, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in an electric mixer until pale (2 minutes). Add 1 egg yolk, then egg, beating in between until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour and almond meal, in 3 batches, and beat until just incorporated. Turn out onto a work surface; pat into two discs: 320gm and 170gm. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).

Step 2

Meanwhile, for marmellata, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, when foaming, add both apples; cook, turning occasionally until lightly browned (4 minutes). Add ginger and blackberries, stir for 1 minute. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture gels when tested on a cold saucer (15-20 minutes). Spoon into a container and refrigerate until chilled (4 hours or overnight).

How to make a crostata recipe, step 2: making the marmellata filling.

Step 3

Meanwhile, roll out larger portion of dough between two lightly floured sheets of baking paper until 26cm round using a rolling pin. Line a 20cm tart ring placed on an oven tray lined with baking paper. (If the pastry cracks, simply press it together to rejoin.) Trim edges flush with a knife. Place in freezer until required. Repeat rolling out dough with remaining pastry portion to a 22cm round. Place in freezer wrapped in baking paper until required.

How to make crostata recipe, step 3: trimming the pastry to fit the case.

Step 4

Place a heavy-based oven tray in the oven and preheat oven to 170˚C. Fill frozen pastry shell with marmellata, spreading it level.

Step 5

Cut frozen pastry sheet into 1cm-wide strips, place seven pastry strips vertically across top of crostata, positioning longest strips in centre and shortest at the end. Place another seven strips diagonally to the first to create a lattice pattern. Carefully slide tart with paper onto hot oven tray and bake until golden (30 minutes). Lightly beat remaining egg yolk and 1 tsp water, brush eggwash over lattice strips and bake until deep golden (5 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Serve with double cream.

How to make crostata recipe, step 5: covering the marmellata filling with lattice strips of pastry.

Ingredients

Pasta frolla
Blackberry and apple marmellata

Method

1.For pasta frolla, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon in an electric mixer until pale (2 minutes). Add 1 egg yolk, then egg, beating in between until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, add flour and almond meal, in 3 batches, and beat until just incorporated. Turn out onto a work surface; pat into two discs: 320gm and 170gm. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
2.Meanwhile, for marmellata, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, when foaming, add both apples; cook, turning occasionally until lightly browned (4 minutes). Add ginger and blackberries, stir for 1 minute. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture gels when tested on a cold saucer (15-20 minutes). Spoon into a container and refrigerate until chilled (4 hours or overnight).
3.Meanwhile, roll out larger portion of dough between two lightly floured sheets of baking paper until 26cm round. Line a 20cm tart ring placed on an oven tray lined with baking paper. (If the pastry cracks, simply press it together to rejoin.) Trim edges flush with a knife. Place in freezer until required. Repeat rolling out dough with remaining pastry portion to a 22cm round. Place in freezer wrapped in baking paper until required.
4.Place a heavy-based oven tray in the oven and preheat oven to 170˚C. Fill frozen pastry shell with marmellata, spreading it level.
5.Cut frozen pastry sheet into 1cm-wide strips, place seven pastry strips vertically across top of crostata, positioning longest strips in centre and shortest at the end. Place another seven strips diagonally to the first to create a lattice pattern. Carefully slide tart with paper onto hot oven tray and bake until golden (30 minutes). Lightly beat remaining egg yolk and 1 tsp water, brush eggwash over lattice strips and bake until deep golden (5 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Serve with double cream.

Note If blackberries are unavailable, substitute same quantity raspberries, blueberries or cherries.

Notes

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