Cindy Mushet's Italian Jam Shortbread Tart (Fregolotta)

By • December 3, 2013 • 27 Comments



Author Notes: The dough is one simple shortbread that you use for both the crust and the topping (which will make you wonder why you'd ever make them separately). You can make the entire thing in about an hour, including clean-up, and yet somehow it comes out looking like a Byzantine mosaic. Even though it's perfect for holidays, you should entrench this in your repertory year-round. As long as you have butter, sugar, and flour, you can use whatever jams and nuts are in your pantry. Adapted slightly from Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style (Scribner, 2000).Genius Recipes

Serves 8 to10

  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) not too sweet apricot jam (or other jam of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup (1 ounce) sliced natural almonds
  1. Heat the oven to 350 °F. Position an oven rack in the center of oven.
  2. Place the butter, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted wtih the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer is fine; just allow a little extra time to reach each stage in the recipe). Beat on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the almond extract and blend well, another 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine on a low speed just until the dough is thoroughly combined, about 30 to 40 seconds. Measure out 1/2 cup of the dough and set it on a small plate, then place the plate in the freezer (this will chill the dough and make it easier to crumble).
  4. Press the remaining dough into a 9 or 9 1/2-inch tart pan in an even layer (the edges can be a little higher than the rest, just be careful that the center is not the thickest point). If the dough is too sticky, just chill it briefly.
  5. Use a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the jam in a thin, even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a border of about 1-inch around the edges.
  6. 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. Sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over the top of the tart.
  7. 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. If your tart pan has a removable bottom, to unmold, center the tart pan on top of a large can so that it balances midair as the rim of the tart pan falls to the counter. Leave the bottom of the pan under the tart for support, or run a large spatula between the crust and the pan, using the spatula to guide the tart onto a plate. Alternately, cut wedges straight from the pan. Serve with tart whipped cream.
  8. Store the tart covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. The tart can be assembled ahead and frozen for up to 1 month. Assemble the tart, then wrap tightly twice in plastic wrap and freeze on a flat surface -- it may require a few minutes extra of baking time.
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Comments (27) Questions (0)

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3 days ago Julieek

We loved this! I think that this would make beautiful small/individual tarts. This would also be great to serve at a cocktail party. One doesn't go very far, so I would serve one apricot and one raspberry! So pretty. I am going to make this all of the time. I may even invest in a second tart pan so that I can make two.

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20 days ago Rose

This is a great recipe. I made it with one cup of flour with half cup of almond meal instead of 1 1/2 cup of flour. It was so good.

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3 months ago Carol

Gotta love a tart that doesn't require rolling dough! I've made this three times with homemade apricot jam and people just go crazy over it, which is weird because I don't get the same amount of crazy over my much more difficult desserts.

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3 months ago Diana

I loved the fact that you can freeze this. I've made it with chocolate strawberry spread, orange apricot jam, peach, etc. They all disappear. The cooking time even frozen is more like 30 to 40 minutes. It was a bit over cooked the first time i made it.

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3 months ago Laurelb

This was fabulous. It will be a go to recipe from now on

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5 months ago Kate's Kitchen

Oh this is good! Made with peach jam. Plan to make it with blackberry next time. Thank you!

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6 months ago witloof

Just made this again, this time using blackberry jam mixed with a little lime juice and orange flower water.

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6 months ago Cinnamin

This looks great! And quite fuss-free too...I like that there's no blind baking involved :)

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6 months ago witloof

I'm teaching a young friend how to bake and we made this together for a dance on Saturday. It FLEW off the refreshments table.

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7 months ago beverly

Where do you find tart whipped cream?

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7 months ago Kathy

A wonderful desssssert/snack/treat. I like sweets that are more about the defined flavors than sugar, so this one is very pleasing. I'll share with many friends. Thank you!

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7 months ago aimeebama

Very good AND easy. I used leftover homemade cranberry sauce from Christmas dinner for the jam and it was delicious and not too sweet. To give a more classic shortbread flavour to the crust next time I will increase the salt a bit.

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7 months ago Ariane

Baked this yesterday for Christmas Eve dinner, with jam we made from our apricots last summer. The tart was a huge hit with our guests, and I'll be sure to make it over and over again -- one guest said, with her mouth full, "you should open a store and only make this and sell it." the kind of thing you want to hear at the end of a delicious meal! ;>

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7 months ago jevyn

I liked the idea of this tart so much that I bought the book by Cindy Mushet. I made this for Christmas dinner and it was a huge hit. Super easy to make. I wish my jam had been a bit more tart (I used apricot-raspberry) but I think I was the only one. I can see making this at least once a year.

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7 months ago Shanaralane

This was fabulous with raspberry jam. So quick and easy too.

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7 months ago Betsy Heckman

I used spiced apricot preserves. (I add ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg to bought preserves.) Then I started with dried apricots and made a spiced fruit topping. Both made my friends happy, :).

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7 months ago Cadie Maas

This is so simple and creates impressive results. I baked for 35 min. and it was slightly overdone.

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7 months ago Elena Gekker

Made this with quince jam. A truly lovely and simple dessert. I did find it a bit too sweet for my taste and, although I loved the look of the decorative border, I will spread a bit more jam and much closer to the edge next time while cutting back on the sugar. My edges over-crisped up a tad as well. Took exactly 40-50 minutes in the oven as the recipe states.

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7 months ago Renee B

I agree. Impressive dessert but we felt it would be better with less sugar and more jam. That said, not a crumb was left! Thank you for sharing such an easy, delicious recipe that impressed our guests.

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7 months ago Miyo Kachi

I wish I had read your reviews before making it- I agree.. I think that spreadin jam further out to the edge and much less sugar would have made this great

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7 months ago Jeannie Elias

I went for Grapefruit Meyer Lemon jam and it is still baking but I know it is going to be great!

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8 months ago Ileana Morales | a little saffron

I made this with apricot jam and hazelnuts, and it was delicious. Cooking time was more like 30 or 35 minutes for me, but that just means less time between me and shortbread tart! Totally a genius recipe.