During this little Easter dessert series, we’ve featured recipes from Napoli and Molise, but none from my mom’s native region of Lazio. I think it’s time we change that, don’t you? Both the Pastiera Napoletana and the Pastiera Molisana are recipes that my mom learned to make when she immigrated to Canada from her Italian friends that live in the city. But the crostata alle fragole, that’s something she’s been making that since she was a teen living in Sperlonga. Typically made at Easter time in the Lazio region, this dessert is fresh, fruity and delicious. For me, it wouldn’t be Easter without this sweet tart filled with strawberry jam. You can use any jam flavor you like of course, but there’s just something about a good strawberry jam that make it my go-to. I really like the Casa Giulia brand, which for all you Vancouver folk, you can find at Cioffi’s.
What I really like about this dessert is that it’s really simple and fuss-free to make! Want to do some Easter baking but don’t have a lot of time? Try this crostata recipe out.
- 3 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp pan degli angeli yeast
- zest from one lemon
- 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
- 250mL Casa Giulia jam
- In a mixer, combine the eggs and sugar. Then add the vanilla, salt, yeast and lemon zest. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the egg mixture, mixing continuously. At this point, the butter may have not dissolved completely into the egg mixture, but don't worry, it will incorporate once you add the flour in.
- At this point, add the sifted flour in a little bit at a time. Once you're done adding the flour in, the dough will still be a bit "wet." This is what you want. Now transfer the dough to a floured working surface. Continue kneading the dough and adding flour until you've reached a dough-like consistency. I added a good 3 extra cups of flour while kneading. The dough should be soft to the touch so that you can roll it out, but not too hard in consistency.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. It should be about 0.5 inches thick by the time you're finished rolling. Transfer your dough to your pie dish so that the edges of the dough are hanging off the dish. Cut the edges of the dough off. Use this extra dough to cut strips that will top the crostata. Instead of cutting strips, I used a cookie cutter to cut the dough into small flower shapes. I topped the crostata with these.
- Fill the crostata with the jam.
- Fold the edges of the dough in, and top with strips or shapes that you've made with your cookie cutter.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.