Italian Pastry Dough: Pasta Frolla


Pasta frolla is a basic all-purpose Italian pastry dough.  I love pasta frolla because it can be used to make a variety of recipes such as Italian cheesecakes, tarts, pies, pastries, and cookies.  It’s super easy to make and I always have some on hand in the freezer.  Pastichiotti, a Sicilian cream-filled pastry, and cuccidati, Sicilian fig cookies, are made with pasta frolla.  Don’t throw away any leftover dough scraps – you can use them to make simple cut-out cookies like the ones pictured.


Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes enough for one 10-inch lattice top crostata.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 (9 g) vanilla sugar (optional)
1 large egg yolk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

MAKE THE DOUGH:  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla sugar and process for 1 minute.

Add the egg yolk and pulse for 30 seconds.  Add the eggs one at a time and pulse for 20 seconds each time.  Add the lemon zest and vanilla and process a few seconds until smooth.

Add the flour mixture and pulse a few times just until the dough starts to come together.  Turn dough out onto a flat work surface and knead lightly a few times just until a ball forms.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or preferably overnight.  Let the dough rest 30 minutes at room temperature before using if it has been refrigerated more than a few hours.  The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 4 months.

ALTERNATIVE METHOD BY HAND:  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine the butter and sugar using your fingertips until all the sugar is incorporated.  Work in the egg yolk with a fork until mixture is smooth.  Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until smooth.  Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.  Place the flour mixture on a flat work surface and make a well in the center.  Place the butter/egg mixture in the center of the well.  Work the flour mixture in with your hands just until the dough comes together to form a ball.  Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will be tough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate as directed above.

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