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How to Make Pasta Frolla, Italian Pastry Dough

Pasta frolla is the go-to pastry dough of Italian baking.  The phrase means short pastry, and you might find it reminds you more of shortbread cookie dough than of typical American pie dough.  It is rich, sweet, buttery, slightly citrusy, flaky, and a little bit crumbly.  It can be used in a range of baked goods, including pies, tarts, and crostatas, as well as cookies and bars.  Modern recipes call for using a food processor, but I love the sensual satisfaction of making it the way my grand-mother did–by hand.  If you do too, I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe.

Pasta Frolla

makes two crusts

Prep Time 20 minutes


  • 1 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 stick butter, cut into sm. pieces, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest, freshly grated may substitute orange zest if you prefer
  • ≤ 4 tbsp milk


  1. Sift flour on pastry board.  Form well in center of flour.  Drop in egg yolks.  

  2. Blend in butter pieces with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Mix in sugar, vanilla, and zest.  

  3. Gradually blend in milk, tbsp by tbsp, until dough holds together.  

  4. Gently knead into ball.  Do not overwork.  

  5. Use immediately; or divide if you prefer, wrap in plastic wrap, freeze until day before use, and thaw overnight in fridge.  

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