Our easy crostata is a cozy Italian tart, soft on the bottom, crusty on the edge, and filled with your favorite jam - apricot is a classic.
Crostata is the most popular homemade dessert in Italy because it's easy to make with a few simple pantry staples, it bakes in 30 minutes, and everyone loves it!
Check out our best plant-based dessert recipes!
What is crostata?
Crostata is an Italian jam tart with a light crust as a base, jam or fruit filling, and a pastry lattice top.
You can make crostata at home with flour, sugar, water, oil, baking powder, and jam in about 10 minutes and bake it in 30.
Our recipe is so simple that you just need a mixing bowl and a spatula to prep the pastry dough (pasta frolla in Italian) for the base. There's no need for a food processor.
In less than an hour, you can enjoy this simple yet homey and delicious dessert that everyone will love.
It's perfect as a snack, for afternoon tea or coffee, as a dessert, and believe it or not, the Italians eat this for breakfast.
We developed this crostata recipe taking inspiration from my Italian nonna's recipe. We make it with a simple dairy-free and egg-free dough that you don't even have to roll. Let's do it!
We make crostata with all-purpose flour. If you use a different flour (like spelt, oat, or whole wheat), you'll need to add a little more water, one tablespoon at a time.
To make crostata gluten-free, you can easily use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour mix.
We use white granulated sugar. You can use any sugar in granular form.
Choose a neutral-flavored vegetable oil such as sunflower oil or canola oil. Oil is super easy to work with and produces a delicious crust.
You can substitute butter (or dairy-free butter) for oil, melted in the microwave for 30 seconds. Working with butter is a little trickier, so I'd recommend starting with an oil-based dough.
We cut the water with oil. As strange as it sounds, water is a key ingredient in our crust recipe. It produces a light crust with crispy edges.
We use a little lemon zest to flavor the pie crust with a mild lemon aroma. You can substitute orange zest or lime zest for lemon.
You can use vanilla extract, essence, aroma, or real vanilla beans; anything will work in this recipe. We use it to flavor the crust of the crostata.
Baking powder is the secret ingredient in our pie crust recipe. Since we don't use eggs (trust us, it's easier without eggs, and it tastes delicious), the baking powder makes the crostata crust light and crumbly, as it's supposed to be.
The most classic crostata is with apricot jam; however, you can use any jam you like. Try plums, cherries, figs, berries, strawberries, oranges, and more. We like using jam with loads of fruit pieces and reduced sugar.
Authenticity note: you can fill crostata with whatever you want, from ricotta to custard, cream, fresh fruit, and Nutella. You can even bake the crust empty, then fill it with custard and fresh fruit, as we do in our fruit tart.
You'll need a 9 to 10 inches ( 24 to 26 cm) tart pan with a removable base.
You can also make this in a pie dish, but in this case, you need to line it with parchment paper to take the crostata out of the dish.
Make the pastry dough
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Brush your tart pan with oil, then dust it with flour.
To a mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients: sugar, water, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
Stir well with a spatula until the sugar and the oil are combined.
Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add them to the wet ingredients.
Mix with a spatula until the mixture turns into dough.
Compact the dough with your hands until all the pieces come together.
Tip: There's no need to knead the dough; just make sure all pieces stick together. Also, don't overwork the dough. Overworking it with your hands will develop the flour's gluten, making your crust hard, chewy, and compact. Also, unlike most other tart recipes, there's no need to let the dough rest in plastic wrap.
Shape the crust
Take ¾ of the pastry dough and transfer it onto the tart pan. We use the remaining ¼ for the lattice pattern.
Flatten the dough with your hands until it covers the pan's bottom and sides.
Prick the bottom and the sides with a fork.
This prevents air bubbles from cracking the crust.
Filling and topping
Fill the base with the jam. Spread it out with the back of a spoon.
Tip: if your jam is compact, stir it in a bowl first to break off lumps.
Dust a working surface with flour (you can use a cutting board) and roll the remaining dough with a rolling pin. Cut 8 - 10 strips with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel cutter.
Arrange five strips on top of the crostata, then arrange the other five strips diagonally to form a lattice top.
Apply some pressure with your fingers where the strips and the edge of the tart meet so that they stick together.
Bake and serve
Bake on a baking rack (not a baking sheet) in the center of the oven at 350°F or 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crostata is golden brown.
Let cool down before removing from the tart pan. Slice and enjoy!
Authenticity note: some Italian nonna's sprinkle the crostata with powdered sugar.
Fresh, springy, and crispy, this strawberry tart is easy to make, and everyone will love it. We make it with our pastry dough, a thin layer of egg-free custard, and fresh strawberries. No one will be able to resist this!
Check out our strawberry tart recipe.
A thin and light pastry base, plenty of fresh apples on top with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Easy to make with a few pantry staples. Serve it with vanilla ice cream, and it will make your day. It's incredible!
Check out our easy apple tart recipe.
Mini Apple Tarts (crostatine)
Cute mini-tarts (crostatine) filled with a delicious chopped apple and a cinnamon mix. They taste delicious and are packed with fresh fruit. Perfect as a quick breakfast on the go or as a coffee break with family and friends.
Check out our crostatine recipe.
A delicious summer tart is made with the same pastry dough, filled with an irresistible frangipane filling, and topped with fresh apricots.
Make this when apricots are in season, and you won't regret it. They melt as they bake in the oven and the combo of pastry and frangipane is irresistible.
Check out our apricot tart recipe.
You can make a rich, creamy, and fabulous Italian pie with ricotta or our dairy-free ricotta. Chocolate chips, cinnamon, citrus zest. It's a crazy recipe you'll want to make every Sunday.
Check out our ricotta pie recipe.
Fresh, light, zesty, juicy, and a little tart. This open crostata is loaded with fresh blueberries and super easy to put together. Make the pastry dough, put it in the tart pan, and fill it with fresh blueberries.
Serve with vanilla ice cream for a deliciously messy and decadent dessert.
Check out our blueberry tart recipe.
Fruit tart with pastry cream
A light pastry dough base cooked without any filling, then covered with our dairy-free pastry cream, and topped with fresh seasonal fruit. Think of kiwis, bananas, peaches, grapes, and much more.
This one is the Queen of all Italian tarts. It's beautiful, fresh, and delicious!
Check out our fruit tart recipe.
A simple lemon custard filling to go in our pie crust. This is essentially a lemon custard crostata that every lemon lover will devour.
Check out our lemon tart recipe.
- Mix the wet ingredients well: you want the sugar to bind with the oil and almost dissolve. The best way to do this is with a silicone spatula or whisk.
- Don't over-knead: over-kneading will develop the gluten, making the crostata more compact and heavy.
The word crostata comes from the Latin term crustata, the past tense of the Latin verb crustare "to crust," and from the word "crust."
You could translate it in English to "crusted" or "crusty."
Crostata and pies are similar; however, crostata is more like a tart, baked in a tart pan and then taken out of the pan before serving it. Crostata usually have a lattice top layer or no top layer.
A pie generally has a top layer; it's baked and served in a pie dish.
Both crostatas and pies can have a sweet or savory filling.
Yes, you can freeze jam or custard-filled crostata before or after cooking it. It lasts in the freezer for three months.
Then you can use a pie dish, cut the crostata into the dish and only take out the slice you serve.
Alternatively, you can cut two long and wide stripes of parchment paper and place them in a cross position into the pie dish under the dough.
When the crostata is baked, let it cool completely, and then you'll be able to lift it out of the tray by pulling up the parchment paper stripes.
Room temperature: store crostata under a cake dome at room temperature in a dry corner of your kitchen for 4 to 5 days.
Refrigerator: we don't recommend keeping crostata in the fridge as it absorbs other food's flavors; the crust will absorb moisture and get soggy.
Freezer: you can freeze crostata before or after cooking it.
If you freeze it raw, let it thaw for two hours before baking.
If you freeze it cooked, we recommend cutting it into slices so that you can take out just the right number of slices you are about to serve.
In both cases, freeze for up to three months.
More easy desserts
For more simple desserts, take a peek at these reader favorites:
- Easy apple cake with 7 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time
- Baked pears with cinnamon, nuts, and syrup
- 5-ingredient custard with vanilla and lemon
- Carrot cake with walnuts and a glossy vanilla glaze
- Lemon blueberry pound cake with vanilla-lemon glazing
- Sweet potato muffins with easy microwave sweet potato
- Tart pan 9 to 10 inches (24 to 26cm) easiest if with removable base. Alternatively pie dish.
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil or canola oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 heaping cup apricot jam or any other jam
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Brush your tart pan with oil, then dust it with flour.
- To a mixing bowl, add sugar, oil, water, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.Stir well with a spatula until the sugar and the oil are combined.
- Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add them to the wet ingredients.Mix with a spatula until the mixture turns into dough.
- Compact the dough with your hands until all the pieces come together.
- Take ¾ of the pastry dough and transfer it onto the tart pan.Flatten the dough with your hands until it covers the pan's bottom and sides.
- Prick the bottom and the sides with a fork.This prevents air bubbles from cracking the crust.
- Fill the base with the jam. Spread it out with the back of a spoon.Tip: if your jam is compact, stir it in a bowl first to break off lumps.
- Dust a working surface with flour (you can use a cutting board) and roll the remaining dough with a rolling pin. Cut 8 - 10 strips with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel cutter.
- Arrange five strips on top of the crostata, then arrange the other five strips diagonally to form a lattice top.Apply some pressure with your fingers where the strips and the edge of the tart meet so that they stick together.
- Bake on a baking rack (not a baking sheet) in the center of the oven at 350°F or 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crostata is golden brown.
- Let cool down before removing from the tart pan. Slice and enjoy!