Italian Strawberry Crostata: Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen
By Gourmet Nun
We’ve been cooking up lots of strawberry jam for Christmas gifts with this summer’s bountiful crop of berries from our garden. One of our sisters has been dying to make a strawberry tart with it and today she did.
I loved the looks of it when it came out of the oven. I loved the taste of it even more, as did some of the other kitchen sisters who sampled it. The unusual flavor of fresh lemon zested crust was a taste treat in itself even without the filling.
“Leave it right here”, I said “I’ll be back in a minute to take a picture. This has to be a blog!” Locating the camera as quickly as possible I returned to take this photo…..
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” photo by Sr. Clare
Italian Strawberry Crostata
The pastry for this simple jam tart is made with olive oil and flavored with vanilla, lemon rind and a little alcohol, which makes it tender. It is an easy, smooth dough to handle and does not go hard when stored in the fridge.
4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs
2/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons vodka or other alcohol
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
3/4 cup strawberry jam
Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on a clean surface. Lightly beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, alcohol and rind. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture.
Using your hands, work the flour in gradually to form a dough. Work dough lightly until it comes together into a smooth ball.
Divide dough into 3 pieces. Roll out all pieces to about 1/2 inch thickness. Press 2 of them into the base of 9-10 inch sallow baking pans. Spread each generously with jam.
Cut remaining piece of dough into very thin long strips. Form a ring around edge of dough and make a criss-cross pattern on top of the tarts. Cut tiny diamonds of leftover dough and place into the center of each criss-cross.
Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly golden.
P.S. We added a few fresh berries on top of the jam the second time we tried it, and felt it added yet another dimension of wonderful flavor.