Make Ahead

Cindy Mushet's Italian Jam Shortbread Tart (Fregolotta)

April 11, 2021
21 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to10
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ccsinclair
  • LynnATL
  • Sarah Smith
    Sarah Smith
  • Shannon Jilbert
    Shannon Jilbert
  • Jonathan A.
    Jonathan A.
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

66 Reviews

ccsinclair December 8, 2021
I’ve made this tart since the book came out. It’s a showstopper, and makes you look like a genius pastry chef. Never tell anyone how easy it is to make.
LynnATL April 28, 2021
So delicious. Presents like a dessert that took lots of time. Use your favorite jam. Classic and a favorite.
Sarah S. June 21, 2020
I had lots of homemade jam in the fridge and wanted to use some of it up. This recipe was ideal! The crust was tender but held together well and the topping was sublime. Perfect complement to coffee. Will make this again and again.
Mark R. May 5, 2020
This has become my go-to company dessert. It’s easy and gorgeous! I found a new jam called F.R.O.G. ( fig, raspberry, orange and ginger) for this tart and it’s sensational with sliced almonds. The jam is made by Walnut Creek Foods ( Walnut Creek, Ohio).
Shannon J. February 22, 2020
So love.
Jonathan A. July 17, 2019
This recipe is incredibly tasty, versatile, and easy to make. I recommend splurging on good quality butter. It makes a difference. You can also chop the nuts finely or grind them with the struessel for a more refined look.
Linda January 22, 2019
PS: I put the crust in the freezer x 30 minutes prior to baking... baked for 48 minutes to golden brown. Wish I could post the photo!
Linda January 22, 2019
Made this gluten free... used 4 ounces of King Arthur Measure for Measure and 3.5 ounces almond meal. Worked perfectly! Used 1/3 cup homemade raspberry jam and upped the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. Will use this shortbread recipe to make gluten free salted billionaires shortbread! Love this recipe!
kbehroozi December 22, 2018
Made this again today and realized that it might be better with a higher jam:crust ratio. Maybe that's just me? Used the Trader Joe's seasonal Sugar Plum jam, which has a flavor similar to spiced cranberry sauce. Delicious!
Gardener December 22, 2018
I always use more jam than called for ... it's not just you; somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup.
Gwen M. December 5, 2018
I have made this a bajillion times. It is amazing! I make it for my boss at Christmas and her birthday and she loves it. I have used apricot jam, raspberry jam and red plum jam. Amazing and super easy!!
DC's P. December 6, 2018
I agree. This is a terrific recipe.
Gardener November 22, 2018
For Thanksgiving I made this with a generous 1/3 cup cherry preserves and sliced almonds. Perfection with vanilla ice cream. Simpler, elegant alternative to the cherry pie dessert option.
janet V. August 16, 2018
Thank you Cindy for the freezing directions. I've made fregolotta's, but needed to know if they freeze well. Your recipe came up on my Google search. I would have baked it then freeze. Now I will assemble, freeze then bake.
Kate's K. August 6, 2017
I recently had my new oven recalibrated since it was running hot. As part of the test to see how the new calibration was working the GE repairman said to "just cook in it to see how it working". I didn't need any more coaxing so I turned to an old fav, Cindy Mushet's Fregolotta to test it out. It's working great cause this was delicious and the last time I made it, it was a little dry. I used Bonne Maman strawberry preserves this time ~ oh so good. I agree with another reviewer to use a tablespoon more of the jam than the 1/4 cup called for in the recipe is a good idea,
Alicia March 2, 2017
I LOVE this dish! I have made it multiple times, and as a total baking novice, I really appreciate the specificity of the instructions. It's very tasty, and I've had several people ask me for the recipe.
Kerry G. January 21, 2017
I've now made this several times. One version with sour cherry conserves and dark chocolate. Delicious!
Jackie April 29, 2020
THIS is a great idea on top of a great idea! Thanks.
Kaite December 2, 2016
This was amazing. Everything came together so fast. The dough was a dream to work with. I made mine with cherry jam and pecans. I love the possibility of all the different jam/nut combinations. I ended up adding slightly over 1/4 cup jam, but could still use more next time. It is a sweet treat but a small sliver is a satisfying dessert for me.
Jacquie November 6, 2016
Really easy and wonderful with a mini=scoop of gelato
Renée R. May 14, 2016
What in the heck is "tart" whipped cream?????
witloof July 27, 2017
The directions are to serve THE tart with whipped cream.
Drick December 28, 2015
I wanted to make for Xmas but the family all wanted the visuals. I made it 3 days after, the family was WRONG! Soooooo good! Used blackberry jam and added a little more salt. Was ready in 40 mins no longer needed in my oven
Drick December 28, 2015
I meant to say family wanted the USUALS not visuals, damn spellcheck
Jeanette F. December 16, 2015
This is my go-to recipe for workplace birthdays. It looks beautiful and is so easy! My tart pan is dark metal and the tart is always done in 30 minutes, so if you are making this for the first time you may want to check it on the early side.