You’ll find a variation of this recipe in every Italian baker’s home, so it’s only fitting that the inspiration for this recipe comes by way of our beloved friend Sabrina. She gave us the original recipe back in 2004 when we were visiting her and Luca at the family’s villa in Rapolano Terme in Tuscany. Helping her to prepare this in the restored farmhouse (the kitchen had a small hearth!) is one of those experiences you never forget. Tastes you associate with indelible memories: this is one of those that puts me back at their over-sized table under the vaulted brick ceiling, enjoying an Italian-style breakfast after raiding the ripostiglio on a balmy spring morning in the hills of Tuscany.
I’ve tried other versions but I always come back to this one. Over the years, I’ve experimented with the mixing technique (cutting in the butter by hand vs. using a machine) and have tweaked it a bit. The result is deliciously crunchy where it needs to be, lusciously soft in all the right places. Supremely elegant in its utter simplicity. Serve with cappuccino for breakfast or with an espresso doppio after lunch and you’ve got a taste of Italy right on your plate.
Crostata di marmellata
preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine:
pinch of salt
pinch of baking powder
Add and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal:
125 g./ 4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
In a separate bowl, beat lightly:
1 large egg
egg white of 1 large egg
With machine running, add egg mixture. Process just until mixture comes together (no more than 20 seconds).
On a lightly floured surface, turn dough out. Gently knead the dough a dozen times. Add additional flour, if necessary. Cut off 1/4 of the dough and set aside.
FORMING THE TART: Working quickly, pat the dough into a circle just slightly smaller than a 25,5 cm (10 in.) tart pan with a removable bottom. Lift the dough into the pan and spread out the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
FINISHING THE TART: Dip a flat-bottomed glass into flour and press firmly along the bottom to ensure an even surface, working the glass towards the sides. Run the glass in a concentric direction along the interior side of the tart to ensure even thickness. Cut off any overhang and add to the reserved dough.
Over the bottom surface of the formed tart, spread in an even layer:
@120 ml/1/2 cup marmalade
Set aside. With the reserved dough, roll out and cut into 1,5 cm (5/8 in) strips. Place the strips over the tart in a criss-cross pattern. Brush dough carefully with an egg wash and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the tart is golden.
POINTERS FOR SUCCESS:
•Make sure butter is cold.
•If at anytime the dough becomes unworkable, place in refrigerator to chill.
•Alternately, after the dough is mixed, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to form the tart shell.
•Use seasonal marmalades, preferably homemade or of the highest quality. Pictured here is Hawthorne and Rose Water marmalade made by Ioanna’s mother, Anastasia. We recommend strawberry or the Italian classic, apricot.