Rich Tart Pastry – Pasta Frolla

IMG_1846This blog isn’t about inventing new recipes, although on occasion I do. I see my role more as finding the best recipes and getting the kinks out for you. Everyone should know how to make their own pastry dough and there are many different kinds and they are not all interchangeable. The following rich pastry dough recipe is best for fruit tarts and leftovers make flavorful, delicate dookies. What are dookies? My mother was a wonderful baker and when she had leftover pastry dough, she would make cookies for the children to gobble up while we waited impatiently for dessert. My sister misheard or mispronounced “dough cookie” and they have forever after been known in our family as “dookies.”

This dough is delicious and once you get over the fact that you will be doing some patching, which won’t be visible in the finished product, it is perfect for all of the ripe summer fruit that is now in season. I used plums here and a good quality canned almond paste. You could just as easily use a good jam or if you are feeling ambitious, you could make a pastry cream. Since I was baking the tart, I pre-baked the pastry just enough for it to set up and then finished baking it once I had added the almond paste and plums. If you are using a pastry cream then you would fully bake the dough and allow it to cool before adding the filling.

Rich Tart Pastry

Yield:  Dough for two 9 inch tarts  (leftover dough can be frozen for up to a month)

Ingredients

Pasta Frolla from the Italian Baker by Carol Field The recipe in the book said this made enough dough for 3 tarts. She must have been dreaming.

2.25 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour sifted

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of Kosher salt

1.75 sticks of unsalted butter, at cool room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

grated zest of one lemon

Directions

This can be made by hand, in a food processor or in a standing mixer. I tried it using a standing mixer.

  1. Cream the butter and the sugar  in a standing mixer using the paddle blade until pale and creamy.
  2. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and lemon zest, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  3. Add the sifted flour and salt until the dough comes together and is consistent but still soft. DO NOT OVER MIX or the pastry will be tough.
  4. Flatten the dough into 2 rounds and wrap with plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour but no longer than 1 day. I used one dough round and froze the second one.
  5. When ready to use, allow the dough to stand at room temperature for about 30-45 minutes or until supple enough to roll out easily. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and carefully roll it onto the rolling pin. Ease it into the pan and unroll. I used a fluted flan pan with a removable bottom. If you plan on doing much baking, these pans are a must. This dough smells divine – lemony and rich – but fair warning, it does not roll out easily. I had to do LOTS of patching. However, since it will all be hidden under the filling, it was fine. Just don’t stress if it happens to you. I might try just pressing the dough into the pan with my hands next time instead of rolling it out.
  6. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan for at least 20 to 30 minutes before baking to reduce shrinkage.
  7. To partially bake the dough, line the dough with aluminum foil and cover with dried beans or pie weights. I have been using the same dried chickpeas for years, storing them in a glass jar once they have cooled completely.
  8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Add your filling and continue baking, in my case for an additional 45 minutes.
  9. If you are fully baking the pastry shell, take a fork and pierce the dough all over before placing in the oven. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. You will smell it and it should be a lovely golden brown. Ovens are different so watch it until you learn how your oven performs. Remember – any patches will be covered by the filling.

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