Looking for an easy and versatile sweet pastry dough? One that comes together simply and quickly? I have here a recipe for the Italian sweet pastry dough (similar to pate sucree), which is called pasta frolla and, if you have ever made a batch of chocolate chip cookies, you have the skills to make this pastry dough!
Last year I shared my super easy, super flaky recipe for basic pie crust which turns everything you know about pie crust upside down. This year I have a recipe for an Italian sweet shortcrust which which is just as easy and simple as my pie crust.
Seriously. Ever made cookies? And creamed together butter and sugar? Then you’ve got this! Before you know it you’ll be making tarts and cookies and other fun pastries.
Over the years I’ve made many different recipes for sweet tart doughs. All sorts of variations on pate sucree. And then I discovered pasta frolla! My Italian-American education was severely and sadly lacking, because pasta frolla is by far my favorite sweet dough now, and I wish I knew it sooner. Happily, now that I do know it, I can share it with you and you can know it too. 🙂
For the basic recipe I started with Gina de Palma’s recipe (who was a pastry chef at Babbo in Manhattan), though I quickly decided that I liked confectioners’ sugar over the granulated and preferred not to add the baking powder. I wanted crisper edges and less puffing.
As for the mixing, I am so over the ‘standard pastry dough’ method of dry ingredients + cut in butter + quickly add wet, so I tried a few different ideas until I stumbled on a recipe which uses the cookie method of mixing it. (not that they call it that, but it’s just like making a batch of cookies.) So much easier!
With my recipe and method in hand, it was time to take some photos. As with my pie crust, I have a step by step photo series along with the recipe, which will help you visualize how each step should look.
And there you go! I find this recipe for pasta frolla to be very friendly and easy to work with, even if you don’t make dough frequently, and I think you will too!
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
Pasta Frolla Recipe - Italian Sweet Pastry Dough
- 12 tbsp (6 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) confectioners' sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp citrus zest: orange, lemon, or lime
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (2 oz) heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
- In the bowl of a standing mixer using the flat beater, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low until combined.
- Mix together the egg, yolk, salt, zest, vanilla, and heavy cream in a bowl. Add all the liquid ingredients into the mixer and mix on low until you have a smooth batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a few seconds more.
- Scrape down the sides one more time and add the flour. Mix until just combined with a little flour still unmixed. Take the bowl off the mixer and use your spatula for the last few stirs. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and let it rest at least 2 hours and up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (The dough can also frozen for up to 2 months, well wrapped.)
- When you are ready to use the dough, let it sit out until it is pliable and then roll it out or shape it according to your recipe. Pasta frolla can be used for tarts, cookies, and other baked sweets.
- Forgot to take the eggs and butter out of the fridge? To quickly bring butter to room temperature, cut it into 1 tablespoon pieces and wait about 10 minutes. For room temperature eggs put them into a bowl of very warm water for a few minutes.
- Creaming together the butter and sugar: Since you aren't trying to incorporate air in the batter as you would in a batch of cookies, just mix them together until they are combined, then stop and proceed to the next step.
- Measuring: I highly recommend getting a kitchen scale and measuring the ingredients by weight. Any sort of baking is going to be much more consistent if you use weight.
- You can use pasta frolla in any recipe calling for pate sucree. Or in my pear cranberry tart recipe and Christmas cutout cookies recipe.
- Recipe adapted from Gina DePalma's recipe and method adapted from Living a Life in Colour.