I almost skipped this recipe but I’m glad I didn’t. The fancy name Italian Jam Crostata and disguise of preserves and almonds threw me off.  But behind the name and hidden under the jam lies a buttery, crumbly cookie crust that melts in your mouth.  A clever play on my absolute FAVORITE cookie, shortbread. So good and so easy to make!  I found the recipe on the blog site Bake or Break.  Great site, worth a visit.

The shortbread base screams of buttery goodness (did I mention that already?) not too sweet with just a hint of almond.   The dough is soft much like cookie dough and easily pressed into a tart pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan.  My tart pan has a dark finished which probably contributed to the shorter baking time than posted.    Next time I’ll lower the baking temperature and check it before the suggested baking time elapses.

The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of jam.  I used a bit more, almost 1/2 cup which covered the crust to within 3/4 of an inch from the edge. The crostata is finished off with sliced almonds and a topping made from a portion of the dough reserved from the crust which is then crumbled on top before baking.  Pick your favorite jam or experiment.   I used raspberry jam but its entirely up to you.  I bet pineapple preserves would be delicious with not only almonds sprinkled on top but flaked coconut.  Sky’s the limit!

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Italian Jam Crostada

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup jam (use your favorite!)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • Variations:
  • Pineapple preserves and flaked coconut

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed. Add vanilla & almond extracts and salt to mixture. Mix until combined.
  • On low speed, add flour to butter mixture, blending just until mixtrue comes together. Do not over beat, the dough should be crumbly.
  • Remove 1/2 cup of dough and press onto a plate or pan (~1/4 inch thick). Cover with saran wrap and place it in the freezer.
  • Press remaining dough into tart pan or springform pan. You can press the dough in with a glass covered with saran wrap or with your fingers. Flour your finger tips to prevent sticking.
  • Spread jam over dough leaving approximately 3/4 - 1 inch border.
  • Sprinkle almonds and reserved dough (crumble it with your fingers or a fork) evenly over crust.
  • Bake approximately 40 minutes or until the edge is golden brown. Cool completely before taking it out of pan.
  • Cut into wedges.
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Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!