RECIPES: Fabio’s blackberry crostata

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.


400g cake flour
250g chilled butter, out of fridge for 10 min
250g sugar
2 eggs
Most of 1 jar of quality blackberry jam (we used Hillcrest)

1. Mix the butter and sugar in a food processor or cake mixer. Add the eggs mixed with a fork. Then gradually add sifted flour, 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 dough and press gently 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 dough 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 lattice 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 180 degrees celcius for about 45 minutes (up to 60 minutes) or until golden with crisped edges. The time depends on the size of the tin. Serve at room temperature. Blackcurrant or any darker fruit jam works best.