I don’t know why it’s taken me long to share this Italian apricot jam crostata. Crostatas, tarts, and galettes come from the same pastry family and are straight homies, at least in my mind.
In fact, there are only two main differences between crostatas and tarts/galettes. Tarts hail from France and are filled with fresh fruit before baking; that’s the format of most of the tarts and galettes on this blog. Crostatas hail from Italy and tend to be filled with homemade jam before baking. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a quick distinction if you had to make one.
When I first began working BOH (back of house) in restaurants, I actually learned how to make tarts and crostatas at the same time! The Italian restaurant I worked at specialized in food from the southwestern region of Campania, which includes Naples. Their signature dessert was a chocolate tart with olive oil, but they also made crostatas filled with jam and topped with the most beautiful lattice work (I also learned that the secret to a good lattice topping is to buy a lattice dough cutter, and I’ve never looked back).
In the US, jam is seen more as a breakfast item than a dessert item, which is why I think crostatas aren’t as popular here. But they should be, especially during the summertime when fruit is at its best. For this Italian apricot jam crostata, I made a quick homemade jam using REALLY ripe apricots my friend dropped off for me. The jam itself takes 30 minutes, enough to thicken and gel, but not enough to be a true, preserved jam. But in my opinion, this quick jam is better than 90% of jams I buy.
Making jam at home means you control the sugar, and I always opt for less sugar to really let the fruit shine. Star anise and cinnamon add spiced warmth, and Grand Marnier gives it a boozy, adult kick of perfection. Don’t skip the Grand Marnier.
The other secret to this Italian apricot jam crostata is the dough. I use my cornmeal sablé dough for a buttery, stable crust that you can press into the tart pan rather than rolling it—so much easier! The leftover dough gets mixed with some hazelnuts for a simple streusel topping. I spared you the agony of cutting out lattice this time 🙂