If there is one dessert that can be named one of the most popular in Argentine cuisine, it must be pastafrola de membrillo! It is an absolute Argentine classic and one of my favourites!
Pastafrola originates from Italy and was brought to Argentina through the many Italian immigrants that arrived in Argentina. Pasta frolla is the Italian name for short-crust pastry and is used to make crostata, an Italian pie which can be filled with many different types of fruit jams.
The Argentine pastafrola is most popularly made with dulce de membrillo (quince paste), a popular ingredient brought to Argentina by the Spanish, which often is used as a cheese accompaniment but also very very popular in sweet cakes and pastries in Argentina. Pastafrola can also be made using dulce de batata (sweet potato paste) or even dulce de leche!
What will you need to make this simple yet delicious pie?
- Unsalted butter – Make sure that the butter is soft before you begin baking so remove from the fridge 15 minutes before you start. Do not microwave as this may melt it completely and we don’t want that!
- Caster sugar – Do I need to say more?
- Large eggs – it is important also that the eggs are at room temperature before you begin baking so do remove from fridge when you remove the butter!
- Vanilla extract – definitely a key ingredient to give pastafrola its delicate taste
- Plain flour – If you would like to use self-rising flour you can however, do not add the baking powder. Using plain flour is better however as it ensures that the dough doesn’t rise too much. We want a thin pastry crust!
- Baking powder – as mentioned above, you can omit this if you have self-rising flour only
- Salt – not a lot needed but it is important to help balance the flavours
- Dulce de membrillo (quince paste) – traditionally in Argentina, this is the filling we use in pastafrola. You can buy quince paste from Waitrose or from Casa Argentina. The latter is much cheaper as you will need at least 500g. You can otherwise buy these 400g tubs from Amazon. If you cannot buy dulce de membrillo, you can use strawberry or other fruit jams
- Egg wash (optional) – I did not egg wash my pastafrola however some do egg wash it to give it a shiny end.
- Desiccated coconut (optional) – Decorate the finished pastafrola with desiccated coconut. I only added to the edges however you can add more!
The ingredients will make one pastafrola in a 25cm pie dish.
With the leftover dough I made a smaller strawberry jam pie and some cookies!
- 200g soft butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 400g plain flour
- 1 level tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 500g dulce de membrillo (quince paste)
- 1tbsp of water
- 1 egg for egg wash (optional)
- desiccated coconut (optional)
- In a large bowl, start by mixing the soft butter and caster sugar with an electric whisk for a few good minutes until a creamy mixture is formed. Add the vanilla extract and whisk again. Start by adding an egg at the time and continue whisking thoroughly before adding the second egg. Whisk again until all the eggs are well mixed into the mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix the plain flour, baking powder and salt together to ensure the baking powder is evenly distributed in the flour. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and begin mixing with a spatula until a dough begins to form.
- Tip the dough and remaining flour onto a clean surface and with your hands, begin to join the dough together. Ensure you do not knead the dough as this will give you a tough crust and we certainly don’t want that!
- Once you have a uniform dough, cover with cling film and allow it to rest in the fridge for AT LEAST ONE HOUR!
- Once you have removed the dough from the fridge divide the dough into two: one ball should be 2/3 of the dough and will be used to cover the pie dish and the remaining 1/3 of dough will be used to make the lattice. Put the 1/3 dough back into the fridge as you will use it later.
- Before starting to roll the dough, cover the whole pie dish with a thin layer of butter and flour to ensure the dough will not stick to the pie dish. At the same time, start preheating your oven to 170 degree Celsius.
- Add flour to your clean surface and with a rolling pin, roll the dough (the one that is 2/3) until it is even and 3-5mm thick. Quickly use your rolling pin to lift the rolled dough off the surface and cover the pie dish. Use your fingers to tuck the dough into the pie dish and the rolling pin to cut any excess dough from the sides. If you find that the dough has broken up slightly, do not worry and patch it up!
- Gently heat the dulce de membrillo with a tablespoon of water whilst using a wooden spoon to stir and break the larger pieces of dulce de membrillo. Continue to gently heat and stir until the dulce de membrillo has formed a thick jam consistency.
- Whilst the thick jam like dulce de membrillo is hot, pour into the pie dish and use a knife to evenly distribute across the whole pie.
- Remove the smaller dough ball from the fridge and in a clean floured surface, roll into a large rectangle, 3-5mm thick. Use a sharp knife to cut long, thin strips of dough. If the dough is too soft once again, refrigerate the rolled rectangle in the fridge and once chilled again, cut into long, thin strips.
- Once your strips are cut, make your lattice. I make it by adding long, thin strips vertically and then horizontally, across the vertical strips.
- You can egg wash your pastafrola if you would like it shiny. I however did not egg wash it as I prefer the more rustic look.
- Bake the pastafrola at 170degree Celsius (fan) for 30-40 minutes until evenly golden. At 30 minutes, check it as you may find it is ready!
- Sprinkle desiccated coconut around the edges to decorate.
- Make yourself a cup of tea, coffee or mate and ENJOY! 🙂
This is a true Argentine classic and one of my favourites! I am so so happy to have shared this recipe and I cannot wait to hear your comments and see your amazing versions!
BUEN PROVECHO! 🙂