Pasta Frolla is a light and tender sweet shortcrust pastry used for tarts. This is a recipe from a lady in Italy who taught us how to make it – she worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant and made the best pastry. It is made the same way as pasta, drawing the egg mixture into the flour then kneading the pastry. It is remarkably easy and relaxing to make.
Makes pastry for one tart
500g plain flour
250g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
8g baking powder
Zest of one lemon
1. Make a fountain of the flour on a large clean board and make a large hole in the centre. Place the butter, eggs and caster sugar into the centre and cream them together with a fork, mashing them until they come together.
2. Gradually draw the flour into the creamed mixture and mix it together, first with the fork, then with your hands until you have a ball of pastry dough. Sprinkle ovedr some of the baking powder and lemon zest and knead it into the pastry. Repeat until you have used up all the baking powder and lemon zest and knead and push the pastry until it comes together in a smooth ball.
3. Cover the pastry in cling film and leave it to rest for an hour in the fridge before you use it. You can also place it in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed things up. (If this Pasta Frolla isn’t cold enough, it breaks up when you try to roll it.)
3. Roll out the pastry and use as required. It is a very soft pastry so you will need to patch as you go. If you are baking a pie or tart and using this pastry, you can bake it blind but don’t use beans to weigh down the middle as it won’t cook. You need to let it rise, then dampen it down with a clean tea towel. It is part of its charm.
Pasta Frolla Biscuits
It’s easy to make biscuits using this pastry. Roll out the pastry, cut into rounds, reform the pieces that are left and cut or press them into circles and place on an oiled baking sheet. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with demerara or caster sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180C/360F/Gas 4 until they are golden – leave to firm up for a few minutes as they are crumbly to start with.
Pasta Frolla Recipe Variation
You can add vanilla to the eggs when making the pastry and/or add orange zest (particularly good with a fruit tart or when making biscuits from the pastry).
Refrigerator Biscuits Recipe
Alternatively, for Quick Refrigerator Biscuits, freeze a roll of pasta frolla dough which you have tightly wrapped in clingfilm and tin foil, then defrost it just enough so you can cut slices from the roll and bake as above for the Pasta Frolla Biscuits.
Pastry making tips
– Everything should be as cold as possible except the butter. It is impossible to work with cold butter in this recipe – you need it to be at room temperature so it is soft enough to mix with the flour.