Sweet Pastry forPies, Tarts, and Timballos. Pasta Frolla
5 tablespoons cold unsalted
butter, cut into pieces (75 g)
5 tablespoons cold lard,
cut into small pieces (75 g)
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar, better if superfine
2 large egg yolks, at room
1 whole egg
Grated zest of Hlarge lemon
This is the recipe most Italians use to make a thin pastry (pasta frolla) for pies, tarts, and
pasta timballi. It can be made by hand or prepared in a food processor or electric mixer. The
Romans have their own way and tend to make up the pastry by hand; it is allowed to rest under a clean tea cloth in a cool place, not the refrigerator, for about 30 minutes before using. But there are certain rules for pasta frolla all over Italy; most of them derived from Ada Parasiliti, my Roman-Milanese-Sicilian friend, who is an expert on pasta frolla. Lard makes the tastiest pastry, but if you don’t want to use it, increase the butter to 10 tablespoons.
The ingredients for the various techniques are always the same. This quantity of pastry can be used for a 10-inch (25-cm) pie pan or springform pan or for an 11-inch (27-cm) tart pan. Pasta frollais easily mended: simply press a piece of the pastry over the tear and gently press in place. Any leftover pasta frolla can be cut into biscotti (cookies) and baked for about 10 minutes in a 375° (173° C) oven, or an entire recipe made into biscotti. Sift confectioners’ sugar over while still warm.
if preparing by hand:
1 Remove the butter and lard from the refrigerator 5 minutes before
using them. Sift the flour directly onto a work table, preferably of
marble, hollowing out the center to make a well. Cut the cold butter
and lard into small pieces into the well and quickly mix into the flour, using your fingertips. When the butter and lard are incorpo-rated, again make a well in the center.
2 Beat the yolks in a small bowl with the sugar and lemon zest and
pour into the center of the well. Work rapidly to amalgamate the
yolks with the flour mixture, using your fingertips. Press with the
palm of your hand two or three times. Wrap the pasta frollain
waxed paper and allow to rest in a cool place for at least 30 minutes
before using it.
if using a food processor:
Put the flour in the work bowl and add the cold butter and lard,
just removed from the refrigerator, cut into small pieces. Pulse until
the mixture is crumbly. Beat together the yolks, sugar, and lemon
zest and add to the bowl while the processor is in motion, pulsing
just until the mixture forms a ball around the blade. Remove the
dough from the bowl and gather together into a ball, then press into
a disk rapidly. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for a minimum
of 1 hour, or overnight.
if using an electric mixer:
Use the paddle or bread hook. Put the flour and the cold butter and
lard cut into small pieces into the bowl of the mixer. Holding a tea
towel around the bowl to keep the flour from scattering, mix until
the butter, lard, and flour are crumbly. Beat together the eggs, sugar,
and lemon zest. With the mixer on, add to the bowl, 1 tablespoon
at a time. When the pasta is ready, it will form a ball around the
paddle or hook. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for a mini-
mum of 1 hour, or overnight.