This Crostata di Marmellata with olive oil crust is a favorite in my home.
With a tender, lemon scented crust with smooth apricot jam filling, this dairy-free dessert is guaranteed to please!! Simple and quick to make, you’ll be thrilled with the results!
I discovered this Italian Crostata di Marmellata recipe years ago on an Italian site L’emporio 21 and, because it is so good, it has been a regular on our table. Crostata di Marmellata translates to jam crostata or Italian jam tart.
Much loved by Italians but also around the world, crostata is a popular tart made with shortcrust pastry known as pasta frolla and a sweet filling like jam, Nutella or fruit.
The key to a good Italian crostata is all in the crust. It must be soft but sturdy, sweet but not too sweet and most of all flavorsome. And because we like easy as well, this one ticks all the boxes!
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Versatile - While apricot jam is quite traditional, any jam or sweet filling can be used. By using a store bought jam, it means that this Crostata di Marmellata can be made year round no matter what the season.
- Flavor - Typically Italian, the lemon zest in the dough adds a wonderful flavor that combines well with any fruity filling.
- Dairy Free - Italian shortcrust pastry is usually made with butter just like in my Strawberry Crostata. However, this pasta frolla with olive oil is an excellent variation that is naturally dairy free but still tender and tasty.
- Easy - I can’t stress how easy this recipe is. Because you’re not waiting for the butter to soften or pulling out the heavy food processor to blend the cold butter into the flour, all you do is mix the ingredients together and you have authentic crostata dough.
- Appealing - The lattice top with jam peaking through looks great! A dusting of powdered sugar adds the final perfect touch!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
With a few simple ingredients, you can make this authentic Crostata di Marmellata recipe. Olive oil is the surprise ingredient and makes this Italian pastry dough extra easy!
- All Purpose Flour - just regular plain all purpose flour for this recipe. Not self rising flour because baking powder is included.
- Granulated sugar - regular white granulated sugar.
- Lemon zest - Be sure to grate just the fragrant, yellow skin because the white pith is bitter.
- Baking Powder - This will give the crust a little rise and lightness.
- Grappa - Not just for flavor, alcohol creates a better texture in the crostata crust.
- Olive oil - While I prefer regular olive oil you can use extra virgin or light flavored olive oil. If you choose extra virgin olive oil, look for one that is rather mild so that the flavor doesn’t overpower.
- Apricot jam - Choose one that has some tang and isn’t too sweet.
Step by step instructions
A crostata is one of the most simple tarts to make and olive oil pastry makes this one even easier. Before you begin, preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC and butter a 10 inch (25cm) tart pan with a removable base.
- Whisk together dry ingredients then stir in wet ingredients to form a dough.
- Roll the dough out between two sheets of nonstick baking paper.
- Line the prepared pan with pastry.
- Spread apricot jam over the pastry base.
- Arrange lattice strips over the jam in a crisscross pattern.
- Sprinkle with almonds and bake until golden brown.
Hint: This is a perfect olive oil pie crust for all your pies and tarts. Use extra virgin olive oil for savory recipes. Lighter flavored olive oil is perfect for sweet recipes. Use this dairy free pie crust for a variety of recipes.
- Olive Oil - swap olive oil for peanut oil or avocado oil. You’ll still get lots of nutrients from both of these oils.
- Lemon Zest - Use orange zest instead.
- Grappa - Swap the grappa for vodka, brandy or white rum.
- Sweetly Spiced - Instead add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon or another favorite spice
- Alcohol Free - Use milk, chilled water or soda water instead of Grappa to make it alcohol free.
- Jam - Use you favorite flavor of jam or Nutella for the filling
- Nuts - Sprinkle with nuts of your choice.
You’ll need the usual baking equipment of bowls, measuring cups and spoons plus a rolling pin. Importantly you’ll need the correct tart pan. For this crostata alla marmellata, 10 inch (25cm) tart pan with a removable base is handy. It can also be made in a pie pan of a similar size.
Store this tart in an airtight container or on a plate wrapped well with plastic. If storing for longer than one day, keep refrigerated for optimum freshness.
To freeze, bake the tart as per recipe but don’t dust with powdered sugar. Wrap well with several layers of plastic wrap, place in a large plastic bag or airtight container and freeze for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature without unwrapping. Crostata di Marmellata can be refreshed in a 350ºF/180ºC oven for 10-15 minutes if desired. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Tips for success
This crostata di marmellata with an olive oil crust is one of the easiest recipes and almost no fail. However, there are a few tips to ensure absolute success.
- Use a light hand - Don't overwork the dough because this will develop the gluten which makes pastry tough.
- Rolling the dough - The dough can be a little sticky so use two sheets of non stick parchment paper for rolling out the dough. Press the dough to flatten slightly and dust it with a little bit of flour to prevent it from sticking.
- Use a high quality jam - Homemade jam is ideal but any good jam that isn’t too sweet is best.
- To Bake Ahead - Prepare this recipe up to the point of baking, wrap it well with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Continue with baking as per the recipe the next day.
Crostata is an Italian open pie or tart, similar to a French galette. It can be rustic and free formed like my apple crostata or baked in a tart pan like this one.
Crostata is made with an Italian shortcrust pastry or pasta frolla. The classic Italian pasta frolla dough is usually made with unsalted butter, eggs or egg yolks, sugar and flour. For this simplified version, the butter has been replaced with olive oil which is full of nutritional benefits.
The filling for crostata is sweet and often consists of jam, Nutella or fruit. If you can purchase Italian jam, all the better!
It’s hard to exactly trace the history of crostata. However, cookbooks published in the late 15th century show evidence of the modern crostata being made in Italy.
The name comes from the Latin word crustāta meaning crust. The 9th of September is National Crostata Day in Italy which just goes to show how important it is to the country and its cuisine.
Serve Crostata di Marmellata with an espresso after a meal or with a spoonful of mascarpone cream for dessert. Or why not follow the Italian way and have a slice for breakfast with your cappuccino or Italian hot chocolate?
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Crostata di Marmellata Recipe
- 10 inch/25cm tart pan or a pie pan of similar size
Easy Olive Oil Crust
- 3¼ cups (405 grams) all purpose plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ cup (150 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup (120mls) olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grappa see notes for options
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- finely grated zest of one lemon
Filling and Topping
- ¾ cup apricot jam
- ¼ cup slivered/sliced almonds
- powdered sugar to finish
- In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Make a indent in the centre, pour in the beaten eggs, oil, grappa, vanilla extract and the lemon rind.
- With a fork or your fingers begin to mix the wet ingredient taking in some of the dry.
- Continue until all the flour is incorporated and knead lightly and briefly.
- At this point if you have time wrap the dough in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. If not use it right away.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Oil (to keep this dairy free) or grease with butter a 10 inch /25cm pie/flan pan with a removable base.
- Divide the dough in two with one being larger.
- Place the larger piece of dough onto a sheet of baking paper that has been sprinkled with flour. Dust a little more flour on top of the dough and cover with another sheet of baking paper. The baking paper will make rolling and transferring the dough to the flan pan much easier.
- Roll into a circle that will fit the prepared pan.
- Roll the dough and the top sheet of baking paper around the rolling pin. As you roll, remove the bottom sheet of baking paper. Unroll into the pan, remove the baking paper and carefully ease the dough into the edges. Trim the edges.
- Spread apricot jam evenly into the pastry base.
- Add the trimmed dough to the reserved dough and roll out, as above, to 10in/25cm in length and about ¼in/6mm thickness.
- Cut long strips and lay the strip in a criss cross fashion over the filled tart - cutting off any surplus. Scatter slivered/sliced almonds over the apricot tart.
- Bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Check midway. If the crostata is browning too much, loosely cover with foil.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice and serve.
- Handle the pastry as little as possible.
- Roll the dough between two sheets of non stick parchment paper.
- Use good quality jam.
- Use orange zest instead of lemon zest
- Instead of lemon zest, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon or spice of your choice
- Swap the grappa for vodka, brandy, white rum, milk or soda water.
- Use different jam or Nutella to fill.
Nutritional Estimate Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This updated recipe was first published on June 14, 2014.