dsc_003.jpg My friend Fabio of Roma is visiting and made us his crostata the other night – that’s a jam tart to you and me. It was so delicious we persuaded him to make another one a few days later. It’s the ideal light dessert after lunch, and even works with an espresso for breakfast the next day (if you have any left over!)

The recipe is a little short on details because Fabio makes it from memory - he doesn’t bother with sifting flour or combining ingredients in a specific order - and the baking time is by feel and the look of the pastry in the oven. But it’s simple, not overly sweet and quick to make. The only fiddly bit is getting the pastry to crisscross neatly.

FABIO’S BLACKBERRY CROSTATA

400g cake flour
250g chilled butter, softened
250g sugar
2 eggs
Most of 1 jar of quality blackberry jam (we used Hillcrest)

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1. Mix the flour, butter, sugar and eggs in a food processor or cake mixer to make a soft dough.
2. Line a 25-cm to 27cm-diameter tart tin with kitchen paper, or use a silicone tart base.
3. Use about two-thirds of the pastry and press on to the base of the tart with your fingers so that it’s flat. It should be about 1cm thick. Reserve the rest for the pastry strips on top.
4. Spoon the jam over evenly, leaving about 1.5cm from the edges free of jam, as you would if spreading tomato sauce on a pizza. Fabio: “It’s a personal thing, but I spread enough jam over until I just can’t see the dough underneath.”
5. Take the remaining dough, roll worsies ie strips (Fabio’s South African slang is pretty good) with your fingers. Lay them over the jam filling, flattening them slightly as you lay them and press on to the tart edges (that way the strips won’t stick if they come into contact with the jam). Crisscross with strips running the other way to produce a lattice effect.
6. Bake at 190 degrees celcius for 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden with crisped edges. The time depends on the size of the tin. Serve at room temperature. Apricot or prune jam works nicely too.