A crostata is basically an Italian tart made with pasta frolla, a sweet shortcrust pastry or sweet tart dough. The filling is traditionally made with either jam, fruit preserves, pastry cream or any combination of them. This fresh and delicate cherry tart is made with shortcrust pastry filled with a sponge cake filling and a layer of pastry cream topped with fresh cherries. Great after any meal or as an afternoon snack!
Pasta frolla (shortcrust pastry) ingredients (one 13 x 1-1/2-inch round cake pan)
- 2 cups (8.8 oz) flour 00
- 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 4.4 oz sugar
- 4.4 oz chilled unsalted butter
- grated rind of half lemon (better if organic)
Pan di Spagna (sponge cake) ingredients (one 13 x 1-1/2-inch round cake pan)
- 3 eggs
- 3.2 oz sugar
- 2.65 oz flour 00
- 0.30 oz (8 g) active dry yeast (better if Pane degli Angeli)
- pinch of fine sea salt
Crema pasticcera (pastry cream) ingredients
- 1/2 pint (1 cup – 8.5 fl oz) fresh whole milk
- the yolks of 2 very fresh eggs
- 1.75 oz sugar
- 1.05 oz flour 00
- 0.50 oz (15 g) corn starch
- 1 piece lemon rind (about 1-inch wide – 2-inches long) or (1/4 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 tbsp Strega liqueur (sweet liqueur)
- 2 tbsp confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- 2 lbs fresh cherries
- (lightly brush the top of the crostata with a thin layer of gelatin to give it a glossy shine, if desired)
Prepare the shortcrust pastry (click to view recipe – make half dose), wrap it in plastic food wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Prepare the sponge cake (click to view recipe – make half dose) and let it cool down.
Prepare the pastry cream (click to view recipe – make half dose) and let it cool down.
Wash and stem cherries. Cut each cherry in half and remove pits. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll the shortcrust pastry to 1/4-inch thickness.
Line the cake pan with pastry and using a sharp knife, trim dough even with edge of pan. Use a fork to prick the shell all over.
Place the cooled sponge cake on top of the shortcrust pastry. Spoon 2 tablespoons of liqueur evenly over the sponge cake.
Spread the pastry cream evenly onto the cake.
Place the cherries on top.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the cake.
Bake in preheated oven at 355°F for about 40 minutes. When done, remove the crostata from the oven and let cool completely before removing from pan. If desired, lightly brush the top of the crostata with a thin layer of gelatin. This will give the tart a nice glossy finish.