Learn how to make Pasta Frolla, an italian pastry dough very easy and versatile to use in many italian bakery recipes.
In this tutorial we want to show you how to prepare this dough at home and also give you tips and suggestions for a delicious pasta frolla that will help you in the preparation of your favorite italian pies and cookies.
What is Pasta Frolla?
Pasta Frolla is an italian basic pastry dough that is used mainly in the preparation of pies (crostata) and cookies, both sweet and salty. It is prepared with only a few ingredients, which, if they used in the right proportions, will result in a slightly crunchy dough very crumbly and fragrant.
Being a basic dough for many recipes, it is common to find several versions of Pasta Frolla, for example: using different types of flours but also adding extra ingredients in the dough like chocolate or nuts or even preparing the dough without eggs, dairy-free, etc.
Why to make it at home?
Although nowadays you can find pasta frolla ready to use in almost every supermarket, the truth is that many times these commercial doughs are full of hydrogenated fats and preservatives that I personally think we should avoid whenever is possible .
Preparing pasta frolla at home is very easy and if we pay attention to the ingredients we can also obtain a very good product at a low cost.
2 different methods for making the dough
This dough has two methods to prepare and each one is equally good, changing only a little the texture of the final product:
METHOD 1 – Using an electric mixer, first mix the butter (at room temperature) and sugar into a cream using the wire whip and then mix the rest of the ingredients using the flat beater. This method gives a smoother, more compact crust once baked.
METHOD 2 – Using your fingers, a fork or a food processor, first mix the butter (very cold) and the flour, making with this a sandy mixture that is precisely what will make the dough once baked a lot more crumbly. The rest of the ingredients are knead very quickly afterwards to avoid heating the dough.
No matter which preparation method you prefer, one of the most important things when making pasta frolla is the resting times. Without resting, the dough will not have the right consistency to work it later, resulting in a loose dough that breaks or falls apart easily.
The recommended time to rest is 45 minutes in the refrigerator, but 30 minutes is also a good time.
One way to “speed up” the preparation times is to put the dough in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, but try to not use this “method” so much because the dough really needs its resting times longer to achieve the right texture.
Blind baking refers to baking a pie crust, partially or completely, without filling in it. Pasta Frolla can be blind baked and to do so is as easy as to follow the recipe instructions you’re using.
To blind bake you’re going to need some weights to place on top the dough so it won’t deforms when baking. You can use specific pie weights that are sold in many bakery products stores or also use other type of weights, such as uncooked beans or chickpeas.
Read more about how to blind bake a pie crust (or pasta frolla).
Can you freeze it?
Yes! The dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. To use it, you must first defrost it (preferably by leaving it overnight in the refrigerator) and then use it as indicated in the recipe you are making.
FLOUR: All-purpose flour is used for a traditional pasta frolla. It can also be prepared with a mixture of half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. For other types of flours such as almonds, coconut, etc. I recommend that you follow the instructions of the recipe that asks for it since working with other types of flours has a different method.
BUTTER: Depending on the type of texture you want to achieve, the amount of butter can vary from 30% to 70% of the weight of the flour. Most recipes use 50%, for example: 300 gr flour = 150 gr butter.
EGGS: Fresh and of good quality. If you wish you can also leave out the whites and use only the yolks. In this case the pasta frola acquires a softer texture.
SUGAR: The most common sugar to use is regular white sugar and the amount ranges from 30% to 60% of the weight of flour (300 gr flour = 90/180 gr sugar). Sometimes icing sugar is used in some recipes and that results in a slightly softer dough. Leaving out sugar makes salty pasta frolla, used to make many savoury pies and cookies.
AROMA: There are several ways to add aroma to pasta frolla, the most common are with lemon or orange zest and vanilla extract, but depending on the recipe other flavors can also be added or substituted. For example: Almond extract, rum, orange blossom extract, lavender, etc.
Step by Step Recipe
In a food processor add the cold butter, the sugar and the flour. Pulse two or three times until you get a sandy mixture.
Add the flavoring that you prefer (vanilla, lemon zest, etc) and the eggs lightly beaten. Pulse a couple of times to integrate all the ingredients.
Add the cold water (max three tablespoons) and pulse again one or two times to form the dough.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour and transfer the dough there. Quickly knead for a few seconds to finish integrating everything.
Form a ball, wrap it in kitchen wrap and put it to rest in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Pasta Frolla: An easy guide to make it at home
- 1 ⅔ cup (250 gr) all purpose flour
- 8 ½ Tbsp (125 gr) butter (about 1 stick + 1 Tbsp)
- ½ cup (100 gr) sugar
- 1 egg (medium)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 2-3 Tbsp cold water
- In a food processor add the cold butter, sugar and the flour. Pulse two or three times until you get a sandy mixture.
- Add the flavoring that you prefer (vanilla, lemon zest, etc) and the eggs lightly beaten. Pulse a couple of times to integrate all the ingredients.
- Add the cold water (max three tablespoons) and pulse again one or two times to form the dough.
- Sprinkle a work surface with flour and transfer the dough there. Quickly knead for a few seconds to finish integrating everything.
- Form a ball, wrap it in kitchen wrap and put it to rest in the refrigerator until ready to use.