Cindy Mushet's Italian Jam Shortbread Tart (Fregolotta)

By • December 3, 2013 38 Comments

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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 cups (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.

More Great Recipes: Fruit|Cakes|Desserts|Pies & Tarts|Tarts

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Comments (38) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago Darilyn Schlie

Not only was it my first recipe from this site, but it has become my favorite desert. Three berry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, raspberry jam… love them all

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4 months ago claire miller

The simplest tarts are always the best. I LOVE this recipe!

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6 months ago Kara

Made this with apricot jam (homemade) and almonds. Was a total hit with deliciously crumbly pastry that I will definitely be making again. Next go will be with sour cherry jam and macadamias.

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6 months ago Cheryl

I've made this fabulous dessert many times. Instead of a crumble on top, I have a used small cookie cutters for the top dough and decorate for any holiday! This is a family and colleague favorite!

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6 months ago Katherine

This is the first recipe for me from this site. I made this yesterday for a potluck. It was the only thing that was completely gone at the end of the event. "F-ing delicious" was one comment. I used Chez Maman raspberry jam and the only change is to use a little bit more jam the next time around. It may be the size of the tart pan I used, but it also may just be personal preference. Still an out of the park winner. And next time I make shortbread, I'm adding almond extract.

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6 months ago Darilyn Schlie

This was the first recipe I made from Food 52. Great recipe.

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7 months ago li

Made this last night... used 4 ounces AP flour and 3.5 ounces almond in place of all AP flour and seedless unsweetened raspberry jam.. perfect! Thanks for the great recipe!

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7 months ago li

oops... 3.5 ounces of almond flour...

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9 months ago Julieek

I make this all of the time and absolutely love it! It is the perfect dessert to bring to a holiday party.

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9 months ago michele m. riberdy

I made this last Christmas (and will be making it again this year) with tart cherry and raspberry jams. To quote my sister "This is like dessert crack - completely addictive". This recipe is super easy, foolproof, and delicious!

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about 1 year ago Patricia

I made 4" tarts using oven-safe paper bakeware as my tart pans. 5 batches of dough made 24 tarts. I used cherry jam instead of apricot jam. I am sure these will be a top seller at the bake sale on Sunday. Beautiful and yummy!

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about 1 year 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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about 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Laurelb

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

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago Cinnamin

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

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over 1 year 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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over 1 year ago beverly

Where do you find tart whipped cream?