When Is a Pie Not a Pie?

Post image for When Is a Pie Not a Pie?

When it’s made by me.

In fact, much like its creator, the dessert you see above hovers between two heritages, Italian and American.

It began life as a typical Italian jam crostata—a rustic tart of sorts, made with tender, buttery pasta frolla (pastry) and filled with good blueberry jam.

But since I was making it for the 4th of July, I decided it needed to be more American in character, so I topped the jam with a mound of fresh blueberries tossed with a little flour and lemon zest (sorry, no almond extract in my blueberry pie).

I decorated it with a lattice crust, a classic presentation for both pie and crostata.

Then I baked it. It was both juicy and jammy. The double hit of blueberry really made it something special, something celebratory. A celebration of my two heritages.

P.S. I realize that the 4th was yesterday, but did you know that today, July 5, is Pie Party day? On Facebook, on Twitter, and in hundreds of kitchens. Check out all of the delicious posts and photos on Facebook. Please feel free to join in the fun and make a pie. Or a crostata.

Makes one 9-inch crostata, to serve 8

Double Blueberry Crostata

(Copyright 2011 Domenica Cooks)


  • For the pasta frolla:
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (1/2 pound) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 2 large egg yolks

  • For the filling:
  • One 10-ounce jar blueberry preserves
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Grated zest of 1 small lemon

  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)


Make the crostata shell:

Put the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse briefly to combine the ingredients. Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the whole egg and egg yolks and process until the mixture just begins to clump together in the work bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it together into a thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until well chilled.

Cut the dough disk into 2 portions one slightly larger than the other. Rewrap the smaller portion and refrigerate. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion into an 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker. Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin and drape it over a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the overhang to about 1/2 inch and fold it in, pressing it against the inside rim to reinforce the sides of the shell. Use the rolling pin or the flat of your hand to press around the perimeter of the pan to cut off any excess dough. Put the lined tart pan in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill the crostata shell:

Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Spread the jam on the bottom of the shell. In a bowl, toss together the fresh blueberries, flour, and lemon zest. Pile them on top of the jam.

Remove the smaller piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a 10- or 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick or slightly thicker and cut it into 3/4-inch-wide strips with a fluted pastry wheel. Place the strips over the filled tart shell in a lattice pattern, gently pressing the ends of the strips into the sides of the tart shell. Cut out two or three more strips and arrange them around the perimeter of the crostata to form a border. With the flat of your hand, press around the perimeter to cut off any excess dough.

Bake the crostata for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove the crostata from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the rim from the tart pan and let the crostata cool completely on the rack before transferring it to a decorative serving platter. Dust with confectioners' sugar if you like.

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23 Responses to When Is a Pie Not a Pie?

  1. Chrissy July 5, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Yummy! I’ll try this!

  2. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen July 5, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    So happy to share with you the Pie Party… I’ve never made a proper pie before, but I’m an addicted to crostata. Now I’m addicted to pie, too!

  3. Nelly Rodriguez July 5, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    This made my mouth water, no joke! Looks so good and I am loving the double blueberry power! I might go as far as saying that this is a healthy pie to eat (blueberries are antioxidant right?!), so here’s to our health!

    • Domenica July 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      Love your perspective, Nelly. Blueberries are full of good things, I agree, even when they’re in a pie!

  4. kellypea July 5, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Whichever camp this is in, it looks and sounds delicious, and I’m thinking my taste buds wouldn’t care. Love me some pie!

  5. Cathy July 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Lovely crostata, Domenica! The double blueberry filling will be a winner in this household, where the Blueberry Rules.
    I’ve made a similar kind of tart w/the same crust and jam, but it was called a fregolatta, and was covered in sliced almonds. Same thing, regional difference?
    Happy Pie Party. Once again, I wish we lived closer. We could share our pies over a cup of coffee.

    • Domenica July 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

      This is so interesting, Cathy. I always thought fregolotta, aka fregolatta/fregolata was a crumbly shorbread-like cookie–and yes, you’re right; the dough is similar to my pasta frolla. I didn’t know you could fill it with jam but I just googled it, and I see a version that calls for a jam filling. It’s from the Veneto region. Happy Pie Party to you, too. We can still share pies and coffee–we just have to make plans to do it!

  6. Sally July 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    The jam in this pie sounds like it will, as you say, make it exceptional, especially with the pasta frolla. Your pie is so neat! I want some. This is my next blueberry pie. Happy pie party!

    • Domenica July 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      Thanks, Sally!

  7. Barbara | Creative Culinary July 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Perfectly beautiful and perfect timing. I was planning a pizza dolce but didn’t want to do sweet pizza dough; saw your recipe, made it using your crostata dough flat on a cookie sheet. I’m conflicted now for sure. I think I just made a pizza dolce crostata pie?

    • Domenica July 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      I love hybrids, Barb. How did it turn out?

  8. Jamie July 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    How beautiful! I love making Italian crostata but would never have thought to add both a layer of jam and a layer of fruit! That makes it fabulous! Oh I want to join the party – I just made a nectarine jalousie!

    • Domenica July 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      nectarine jalousie sounds lovely, Jamie. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Terra July 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    This looks so perfect, AND delicious!!! Love your pictures:-)
    Enjoy, Terra

    • Domenica July 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      Thanks, Terra. My pictures are pretty hit-or-miss, so I appreciate the compliment! BTW, somehow your comment ended up in my spam file and I only just found it. Thanks for reading. Cheers

  10. Nancy Baggett July 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    This is making me very hungry, and not just because I haven’t had lunch! I love the idea of the blueberry jam on the bottom–no doubt brings up the berry flavor a lot. The lattice is very pretty, btw.

  11. Emiko July 12, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Beautiful! I love the fusion of the crostata with a blueberry pie – two of my favourite foods in one; it works so perfectly!

    • Domenica July 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Thanks Emiko!

  12. Tori RItchie July 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Brilliant! I love blending American pies and crostata. Am making a cherry jam, fresh cherry one this week. xo

    • Domenica July 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      Fantastico. Let me know how it comes out, Tori.

    • Domenica July 12, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

      p.s. Cherries are very juicy; you may need to add more flour or even cook them briefly on the stovetop with a little flour to thicken. On the other hand, I don’t mind juicy…


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