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Lidia Bastianich's Easy Free-Form Plum Tart

Delicious and easy plum tart
Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

Skip the fussy pie crust and go rogue with Lidia Bastianich's easy free-form plum tart, called crostata di prugne fresche in Italian. 


Free-Form Dough
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
Filling and Topping
  • pounds purple or red plums, pitted and cut into sixths
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the dough:

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse just to combine ingredients. Drop in the butter pieces, and pulse until mixture is lumpy. With the processor running, pour in 6 tablespoons cold water. Process until the dough just comes together in a lump around the blade, adding a little more flour or cold water if it is too wet or too dry. Scrape the dough onto your work surface, and knead a few times, just to bring it together. Flatten it into a disk, and wrap it in plastic. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

For the filling and topping:

In a large bowl, toss the plums with the grated lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the jam and butter.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

On a piece of parchment, roll the dough into a rough circle about 14 to 15 inches in diameter. With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into as perfect a round as you can get, about 12 to 13 inches in diameter. Slide the dough on the parchment onto a flat baking sheet.

Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture in an 8-inch circle in the middle of the dough. Arrange the plums on their sides in concentric circles, finishing in the center. Fold up the edges of the dough to form a crust of about 2 to 3 inches. Sprinkle the exposed fruit with the remaining crumb mixture.

Begin baking on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake about 30 to 40 minutes. Then switch it to the middle rack, and continue baking until the top crush is deep golden brown and the plums are soft and the juices bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes more - 50 minutes to an hour total.

Slide the crostata and parchment onto a rack to cool. While it is still warm, slide it with the aid of a spatula from the parchment onto a serving plate. Serve it warm or at room temperature.