Italian Jam Tart - Elizabeth Karmel

Site Administrator - 6th May 2014

Amazing Italian Jam Tart
After learning about the butter-sugar-flour-egg ratios for the classic Italian Crostata from Italian cooking teacher Judy Witts Francini, we made one with fig jam.  The Crostata, I learned during the class, can be filled with just about anything and a good jam is the easiest filling.   After one bite, I translated “crostata” to Amazing Italian Jam Tart.  This is one of those treasured recipes where the sum is greater than it’s parts!  The recipe’s list of ingredients is small and basic, and that day, the secret to the tart was a beautiful jar of homemade fig jam scented with lemon zest and almonds. I was incredulous that something so easy to make could taste so good.

Makes 6 slices or 12 mini-tarts
Special Equipment:  Pie Pan or Muffin Tin



13  tablespoons unsalted butter ( or 1 stick and 5 tablespoons), softened
½  cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
¼  teaspoon pure orange blossom water or vanilla extract
1 ½  cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8  teaspoon sea salt
Generous ½ cup (about 6.5 ounces) not too sweet fig, apricot, cherry, or berry jam (or other jam of your choice)



Heat the oven to 350˚F.  Position an oven rack in the center of oven.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (a handheld mixer is fine).  Beat on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the extract and blend well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine by hand just until the dough is thoroughly combined about 30 seconds.  Measure out a scant ½ cup of the dough and smooth it out on a small plate, then place the plate in the freezer (this will chill the dough and make it easier to crumble).

Press the remaining dough evenly into a 9-inch pie pan in a layer with a ½-inch border around the sides.  You can also do this in muffin tins to make mini-tarts.  If the dough is too soft to work with, chill it briefly.  Once the crust is formed in the pan, chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.

Starting in the center, spread the jam in a thin, even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a border of about 1/2-inch around the edges.  If you want or need more jam, add it but it should be a relatively thin layer, not a filling like a pie.

Remove the reserved dough from the freezer and crumble it into small pieces over the layer of the jam, allowing some of the jam to peek through.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the topping is a beautiful golden brown.  Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.  Cut wedges straight from the pan or remove from the muffin tin if making mini-tarts. The tart will stay fresh covered in plastic wrap at room temperature for 2-3 days, but it won’t last that long!

© 2014 Elizabeth A Karmel


Elizabeth Karmel
Karmel, a.k.a. Queen of the Grill, is a nationally respected authority on grilling, barbecue and Southern food.  She is the Executive Chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in NYC and Washington, DC, and NYC’s Hill Country Chicken.  She developed the award-winning concept, menu and flavor profiles from the meats to the sides and desserts for all three restaurants.
As a sought after media personality, Karmel writes for, and is frequently featured in an array of national magazines from Saveur to Better Homes & Gardens, and appears regularly on all three network morning shows.  She writes a bi-monthly column for the Associated Press called The American Table.  She is also the author of three acclaimed cookbooks, the designer of an innovative line of outdoor cooking and kitchen tools, and the founder of the gender-breaking