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Traditional Italian Jam-filled Tart

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Discover the Delight of Crostata: Italy’s Beloved Traditional Tart

One of Italy’s most cherished traditional pastries is also perhaps the simplest: the crostata. This jam-filled tart is a staple in Italian households, beloved for its simplicity and deliciousness. Often overlooked in favor of more elaborate desserts, the humble crostata is a nostalgic treat that brings back happy childhood memories for many locals. In the latest edition of the Foodie Sisters video series, Valeria and Benedetta delve into the story of this scrumptious pastry.

What is a Crostata?

The traditional Italian crostata is made with a shortcrust pastry dough known as pasta frolla. The dough is flattened onto a baking sheet and filled with jam, fruit, or cream before being topped with pastry strips arranged in a criss-cross pattern. This distinctive look sets the crostata apart from the typical French ‘tarte’ and the British pie, which usually have a full pastry top.

The History of Crostata

The origins of the crostata are linked to the torta salata, or savory pie. Initially, the pastry was a practical vessel used to cook low-quality meat and vegetables, making them more appetizing. Over time, as cooking techniques and equipment improved, the pastry became thinner and lighter, eventually becoming a fundamental feature of the dish. While the term torta is used for both sweet and savory recipes, crostata specifically refers to this sweet version.

Why Italians Love Crostata

Crostata is quick, easy, and inexpensive to prepare, making it a popular choice for home baking. Many Italians fondly recall the taste of their grandmother’s crostata or remember enjoying it during their childhood. It’s the perfect choice for breakfast or a sweet snack with coffee. In Italy, you can find crostata in many cafés, pastry shops, and bakeries, sold in various sizes from small individual portions to larger tarts meant for sharing.

Crostata Fillings

Crostata fillings are mostly fruit-based, with apricot, plum, and sour cherry being the most common in Rome. However, you might also come across variations with cream custard, chocolate, or sweetened ricotta. Whichever filling you choose, don’t miss the chance to taste this traditional delight when in Italy.

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