• 150 g unsalted butter
  • 400 g self-rising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 350 g filling (See Recipe)
  • Water or wine to dissolve solid fillings

Pastafrola (pasta frola, or frolla) is a typical shortcrust tart we enjoy in Argentina, though Wikipedia (Spanish only) says Paraguayans and Uruguayans also know good stuff when they see it. The name gives away it’s Italian roots and it’s apparently very similar to it’s cousins crostata, pâte brisée and linzertorte. The most traditional Argentine versions are filled with quince jelly but you can also find tarts filled with sweet potato jelly, dulce de leche or sweetened ricotta cheese, all with the typical criss-cross pattern on top.

Pastafrola is such an iconic food that we used to have the saying: “La vida no es una pastafrola” (life isn’t a piece of cake). But pastafrola is generous and won’t discriminate: you can fill it with anything you like. That’s the best thing about home cooking, you can have things your way. And nothing says “home” like a lazy Sunday sharing mate and pastafrola.

But you know me. I’m in the miniature business and I have the crazy idea that “smaller = cuter” so we won’t be making the traditional big pie but small individual versions.
Go get your apron while I wash my hands.

1) Place the flour in a deep bowl. Cut the butter in small pieces and mix it with the flour. Add 2 eggs, the sugar, the lemon zest and the brandy then mix until you have a homogeneous dough. Use your hands as little as possible as you don’t want to warm up the dough more than you need to.

2) Check the consistency of the dough and set aside ⅓ . If it breaks apart, knead it with your hands just a bit so it gets warmer. If it’s very sticky, put it in the fridge for a while.

3) More often than not your dough will be too warm, so go get your filling ready while you wait. If it’s something solid like quince or sweet potato paste, cut it in small pieces. Put the pieces on a small pan on the stove with some water or wine and stir until it’s jam-like. You don’t want a runny jam so use as little liquid as possible.
If your filling already has a jam-like consistency, forget the last part.

4) Cut open a big, clean plastic bag and set it on your table. Working with this dough is easier if done on plastic and it also minimizes any mess you may make.

5) Roll out the dough until it’s 3-5 mm thick then cut circles with a cookie cutter (or a wide glass if you don’t have one). Grease your muffin tins and place the circles  inside.

6) Fill up your pies with whatever you chose. Oh, and heat up your oven at 170° C.

7) Roll out the dough you had set aside and cut thin strips. Lay the strips on your pies to make the traditional criss-cross pattern.

8) Beat the third egg and paint the strips and edges. You’re almost done; just send your pies to the oven for 15-20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they’re golden and your house smells lovely.

So… want to make a big pie instead of small ones? After you set aside ⅓ of the dough, roll out the rest to the size of your pie tin. In this case you’re likely to need more filling (about 500 g instead of 350 g). Cut the strips for the lattice wider too. Don’t forget to bake cookies with any leftovers!