Italian Desserts

Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Pasta Frolla

May 25, 2020 (Last Updated: June 8, 2020) by Emily

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Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pasta Frolla) is super easy to whip up and can be used to make so many different cookies, pies, and tarts such as Torta della Nonna or Italian Crostata (jam tart). Follow this step by step photo and video guide to make perfect Pasta Frolla!

An overhead shot of raw sweet shortcrust pastry in a pie case

Pasta Frolla is the Italian name for sweet shortcrust pastry and it’s used to make all kinds of cookies, pies, tarts, and more!

Once you learn this super easy recipe you can get experimental and make all kinds of Italian sweet treats.

It’s super delicious and easy to make just make sure you use cold butter straight out of the fridge!

Ingredients you need

You need only basic store cupboard ingredients to make this pastry; flour (00 flour or all-purpose), sugar, cold butter, salt, baking powder, and egg. See the photo below that shows all the ingredients you need!

An overhead shot of all the ingredients needed to make sweet shortcrust pastry

How to make Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry – step by step

Sift the flour into a large bowl then add the rest of the dry ingredients, stir to combine (photos 1 & 2).

Add the egg and butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a spatula or pastry scraper to form rough crumbs (photos 3 & 4).

Step by step photos showing how to make Italian sweet shortcrust pastry

Start to bring the mixture together with your hands to form a dough. Knead the pastry until all the flour is fully absorbed and it becomes a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to1 hour (photo 5-8).

Step by step photos showing how to knead shortcrust pastry

After the dough has chilled remove from the fridge and dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out using a rolling pin until ¼ inch (½ cm) thick if making pies and tarts or roll out to desired thickness for cookies (photo 9).

To make a pie or tart, lay the pastry over a tart or pie tin tucking in the sides until it fits evenly. Roll the rolling pin over the tart case to cut the edges (you can also trim the edge with a knife) (photos 10-13).

Step by step photos showing how to roll out shortcrust pastry and make a tart
Two photos showing how to trim pastry and prick the base to make a tart

Prick the base with a fork then place back in the fridge for 30 minutes (photo 14).

Fill with filling of choice and bake as directed in recipe.

How to use it and what to make with it

Italian sweet shortcrust pastry is used to make delicious cookies, pies, and tarts such as Torta della Nonna which is a tart filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with pine nuts, so delicious!

It’s also used to make one of the most commonly eaten Italian tarts; Crostata!

Crostata is filled with jam such as strawberry, raspberry, or apricot then is topped with a lattice of shortcrust pastry before being baked.

It’s a super simple dessert to make and is so delicious served for breakfast, as a snack or dessert!

Other classic ways to use this pastry is to fill it with fruit to make fruit pies and tarts such as berries, apples, rhubarb, and peach. The list is endless so get creative and choose anything you like! If using fresh fruit make sure to blind bake the pastry first, see notes below.

An overhead shot of two shortcrust pastry tarts before being cooked

Top tips and Sweet Shortcrust Pastry FAQs

  • Measuring in cups – If measuring the flour in cups make sure to spoon the flour into the cups but do not level off.
  • Cold butter – Make sure your butter is extra cold straight from the fridge and try not to handle it very often so it stays nice and cold for as long as possible.
  • Texture of pastry – The shortcrust pastry may seem very dry as you’re mixing it together but don’t be tempted to add any water or extra butter it does come together into a perfect ball within a couple of minutes.
  • Chill the dough – It’s important to let the dough rest and stiffen up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
  • Variations – you can add citrus zest such as lemon and orange to the dry ingredients to add a fresh and zingy flavour!
Can I make shortcrust pastry in advance?

Yes, you can either prepare the dough to the first stage and keep it in a ball in the fridge or roll it out into pie or tart cases and store it in the fridge from that stage for 3-4 days. I don’t recommend filling a pie or tart more than 2-3 hours in advance because the pastry will become too wet on the bottom. Keep a filled unbaked pie or tart in the fridge until ready to bake.

Do I need to blind bake first?

You should blind bake shortcrust pastry first if you are adding very wet fillings such as fresh or frozen fruit. To blind bake add parchment paper to the pastry lined tart followed by baking beads or dried rice to weigh the crust down and bake for around 10-15 minutes.

Can I make sweet shortcrust pastry using a stand mixer?

Yes, simply add all of the ingredients then use the paddle attachment until it forms a dough. You need to tip it out and form the dough into a ball then wrap in plastic wrap.

Can I freeze sweet shortcrust pastry?

Absolutely, you can freeze prepared and unbaked shortcrust pastry. Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in a sealed container. Thaw completely overnight in the fridge before using then roll out from chilled.

A mini Italian jam tart on a marble cutting board

More Italian desserts you might like

If you tried this Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry or any other recipes on my blog please be sure to leave me a comment below to let me know how you got on, I love hearing from you. You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
A square photo of raw sweet shortcrust pastry in a tart case
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5 from 1 vote

Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: Pasta Frolla

Italian Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Pasta Frolla) is super easy to whip up and can be used to make so many different cookies, pies, and tarts such as Torta della Nonna or Italian Crostata (jam tart). Follow this step by step photo and video guide to make perfect Pasta Frolla!
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 221kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 00 flour or unbleached all-purpose *see notes (250g)
  • ½ cup caster sugar golden or white (80g)
  • 8.5 tbsp cold butter cubed (120g)
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl then add the rest of the dry ingredients, stir to combine.
  • Add the egg and butter and cut it into the flour mixture with a spatula or pastry scraper to form rough crumbs. You can also use your hands but make sure they are not too hot to warm the butter.
  • Start to bring the mixture together with your hands to form a dough. Knead the pastry until all the flour is fully absorbed and it becomes a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes-1 hour.
  • After the dough has chilled remove from the fridge and dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out using a rolling pin until ¼ inch (½ cm) thick if making pies and tarts or roll out to desired thickness for cookies.

If making pies and tarts

  • Pick the pastry up by rolling it over the rolling pin carefully then lay it over a tart or pie case greased with butter tucking in the sides until it fits evenly. Roll the rolling pin over the tart case to cut the edges (you can also trim the edge with a knife).
  • Prick the base with a fork then place back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Fill with filling of choice and bake as directed in recipe.

Notes

  • Measuring in cups – If measuring the flour in cups make sure to spoon the flour into the cups but do not level off.
  • Cold butter – Make sure your butter is extra cold straight from the fridge and try not to handle it very often so it stays nice and cold for as long as possible.
  • Texture of pastry – The shortcrust pastry may seem very dry as your mixing it together but don’t be tempted to add any water or extra butter it does come together into a perfect ball within a couple of minutes.
  • Chill the dough – It’s important to let the dough rest and stiffen up in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
  • Variations – you can add citrus zest such as lemon and orange to the dry ingredients to add a fresh and zingy flavour!

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 33mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 321IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We’d love you see what you’re getting up to in the kitchen!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Angela
    May 31, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    I love the fact this pastry doesn’t need to be blind baked first, I’ve had a few disasters with that in the past! So, thanks for the tip that not all flans and tarts require it, now I won’t dread attempting them! The step by step photos really help too! Thank you!5 stars

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