Or, my mamma’s crostataJump to Recipe
Last summer I went back home to see my family. This time it was extra special, since it was the first time I was able to fly to Rome after lockdowns and covid. Usually I manage to fly home a few times a year, but for obvious reasons, in the last two years I have not been so fortunate. I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to not see your family, friends and home town for a long time, as we have all been in the same boat (thanks, Covid). I will just say that as an Italian expat, being away for over a year from home, family, proper coffee and tomatoes that do not taste like water and plastic, was definitely much more soul destroying than I was expecting. I am not ashamed to say that in the bleakest of lockdowns I dreamt about guanciale and mozzarella di bufala (and I do not mean daydream, I mean dream as in my actual subconscious very clearly screaming for mozzarella in the depth of my sleep).
So when the plane started to land and I could finally see Rome extending beneath me like the stunning, capricious old lady that she is, I started tearing up. And by the time we landed and got to the passport check out, my facemask was soaking wet and adorned with black streaks of melted mascara ( a charming sight, I am sure, for my fellow passengers). Rome was as hot, sticky and bright as only Rome can be in July, and while sweating profusely and greeting my family for the first time after over a year, I was deeply grateful for that moment and for the mozzarella di bufala I knew was waiting for me for lunch.
I shall not bore you with the details of my lunch, I will just focus on the dessert my beautiful mamma made me to go with my first homecoming after lunch caffe’ – the crostata. Crostata is a delicious and very simple cake which goes perfectly with your coffee (or tea, if you are so inclined).
My mum is a chef (I know, I am blessed with so many talented people in my life) and while she could literally feed royalty, she is also a mamma who knows exactly what kind of comfort food her kids need. I suppose it is a super power that comes with being a mum. So when she brought out a delicious, fragrant slice of crostata with my caffe’, I cried, again, and realised that this was exactly what I needed to celebrate my homecoming. I believe that all the best things in life are usually, really quite simple, and that’s what makes them beautiful.
So here comes the recipe for this comforting, delicious cake! Make sure to enjoy it with a coffee in your garden, if you can.
This particular crostata was made using a homemade apricot jam, but you can use any good quality jam you can find. I think apricot is best, but strawberry or cherry would work too.
Classic Italian Crostata
- 250 gr Plain flour
- 150 gr Butter At room temperature
- 100 gr Icing Sugar
- 3 Egg yolks
- Salt Just a pinch
- 1 Lemon Optional
- 1 Jar of Apricot Jam Ideally homemade
- In a bowl mixed the diced butter with the flour and the sugar, until you get a sandy texture.
- Slowly incorporate the egg yolks until you get a compact dough. Do not overwork it! Let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, and start heating up the oven to 180°.
- Using a rolling pin, roll your pastry to about 1 cm thickness. Make sure that it is large enough to cover your entire pie dish. Cut some of the pastry and keep it aside for later.
- Delicately move your pastry into your pie dish, which you will have buttered and floured before. Use a knife to cut the extra bit of pastry from the edge of the dish. Slowly pour the jam on top of the pastry, and even it out with a spatula.
- Use the spare pastry to decorate, and pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180°.