Italian Pasta Frolla or Italian Shortbread Crust Tutorial

  • Serves: One 9- or 10-inch springform or tart pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 9976
  • Comments: 0

Photo by daughter Liz while in Italy © Sarah Phillips
Pasta frolla is what you need for the crust of Italian crostate (fruit pies). This crust recipe can be used for any crostata you make. 
It is best made a day in advance and then, chilled because it improves with age and becomes easier to handle. Used with the Italian Apricot Jam Tart (Crostatina marm, Albicocca).


Alternatively, you can roll the pie crust dough out somewhere between a 1/4- and 1/2- inch thick; work quickly, without working the dough too much because it will become crumbly upon baking.
Set aside the cuttings to make decorative strips to top a jam crostata (brush with egg white wash and sprinkle with sugar before baking) or shape them into fanciful cookie shapes. 

If rolled, spray a 9- or 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Place rolled crust into pan, fitting dough snugly into pan and up the sides.
Trim excess dough off. Place tart pan on baking sheet. Pierce crust with tines of a fork all over. 
Bake the pastry crust as directed.

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces; can be cold from the refrigerator
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (peel) or 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (peel), optional

2 large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim

1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer fitted with beaters, beat the butter on low until softened; do not let it get greasy.
Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and beaters.

2. With the mixer on low, add the sugar, slowly at the side of the bowl, until the mixture lightens in color. Add the salt.
Optionally add in the lemon or orange zest and beat for a few seconds.
Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and beaters.

3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, with the mixer on low, beating until the dough is very smooth and light.
Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and beaters.

4. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour until JUST absorbed without overmixing.

5. Gently press the dough into a disk shape, cover with plastic wrap and place in a reseable plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least an hour,
preferably overnight.

Form the pastry crust:
1. When ready to bake, position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan or tart pan with removable bottom.

3. With lightly floured fingertips, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Pierce crust with tines of a fork all over.

Bake the pastry crust:
1. Bake crust in the springform or tart pan for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the crust is light golden brown and feels firm when pressed with a fingertip.
SARAH SAYS: If the crust starts to darken it's burning; this can happen very suddenly, so keep an eye on your oven. An overbaked crust will be dry and hard when cooled.

2. Cool the crust in its pan on a wire cake rack.

Store prebaked crusts at room temperature for a few days, wrapped, or freeze for a month or more. Thaw in wrappers at room temperature.

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