This pie will certainly remind all of us the rustic pie of our grandmothers, a jam pie that will surely revive good memories of your childhood!
Pastafrola consists of a dough that is garnished with quince jam, guava jam, sweet potatoes or milk jam. It is covered with a lattice of the same dough.
The origin of pastafrola is uncertain. It is said that its initial popularity in Argentina, would be linked to Italian immigration in the region. Indeed, pastafrola would be a version of its Italian ancestor, the crostata alla marmellata, a classic Italian pastry. Like this Italian crostata, pastafrola is also decorated with a lattice of dough on top.
Another version claims that pastafrola is the creole adaptation of the linzertorte (tarta linzer in Spanish), a traditional Austrian pie. The difference is that linzertorte is prepared with raspberry jam or other red berries. The linzertorte is a classic Christmas pastry in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Hungary.
Shortcrust pastry, the dough of pastafrola
In the pure French tradition, the broken dough consists of a small amount of water, usually 50 g for 250 g of flour. Pastafrola paste does not contain any water at all.
Pastafrola is a mixture of flour and other ingredients such as salt, sugar, butter and eggs. To these, people add vanilla or the zest of a citrus like lemon more often.
The dough has a rather compact consistency that can vary depending on the recipe, the quantity of each ingredient and what the dough will be used for.
The most important ingredient of this dough is butter, but it can be replaced by other fats, such as margarine, which will give it a different taste.
In the traditional preparation, the butter should be cold and gently kneaded with the fingers or with the flat beater of a stand mixer. It is important to avoid overheating the butter as the dough would be as elastic as if you had used liquid fats such as oil. Pastafrola should be crisp and crumbly. Butter is present in varying percentages, generally about 1½ cup for 4 cups of flour.
It has a rather neutral taste, but you can add salt to use as a base for savory pies, or give it a sweet taste (like here) by adding sugar or add specific flavors such as cocoa powder.
Its uses in the Paraguayan cuisine are multiple: it is used as a base for several pies or quiches, for tarts, for appetizers, for fruit cakes or for biscuits.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup butter
- ⅔ cup sugar
- Zest of a lemon
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- 10 oz. quince paste (or guava paste)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter , melted
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 190 F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour with the butter, baking powder, sugar and lemon zest, and mix. The mixture will have a sandy texture.
- Add the eggs and continue mixing. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour.
- Roll ⅔ of the dough in a pie pan and place in the refrigerator.
- Cut the quince (or guava) paste into small pieces and pour into a saucepan over low heat with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir constantly over low heat, until it melts and becomes a thick jam. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator and fill it with the jam, pouring it evenly.
- Roll out the rest of the dough to a thickness of ⅛ inch and cut into strips about ½ inch wide.
- Cover the pie with the strips of dough, making a lattice pattern.
- (Optional) Glue the edges carefully, by applying another strip of dough all around the pie.
- Sprinkle shredded coconut around the edges of the pie after brushing with melted butter.
- Bake in a hot oven until the dough is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool before slicing.