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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pasta Frola de Dulce de Membrillo (Quince Tart with Lattice Top) (Argentinian)

A pasta frola is one of the most popular sweet pastries (or pies, like in this case) from the South American cuisine in general and from the Argentinian one in particular. This kind of sweet confection is so popular that there's even a saying there, "La vida no es una pasta frola", which translates to "life is not a pasta frola", meant to warn about the less sweet part of life, I guess :).

A pasta frola always comes with a sweet filling, often fruit-based, and with a shortbread cookie-like crust. It was imported at first via the Italian cuisine (which had a huge influence on the Argentinian and Uruguayan food cultures), but it is now almost a nation dessert for Argentinians. The most popular kind is this one, Pasta frola con dulce de membrillo, filled with the quince jam used for so many other South American and Spanish foods. 
Recipe source: here

Last year: Creamy white bean dip / spread.
Two years ago: Broccoli, chicken and cheese casserole.
Three years ago: Potato, cheese and mushroom gratin.

  • 250 g flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 113 g butter, at room temperature or cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • a few tablespoons of milk to combine
For the filling:
  • 1 cup quince paste (dulce de membrillo)
  • a few tablespoons of water
  • a few tablespoons pineapple preserves (optional)
  • a few tablespoons raspberry preserves (optional)
  • apricot jam or powdered sugar to decorate (optional)
  • eggwash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water) to brush the top before baking (optional)

As a note, I should mention that I didn't have authentic quince paste at the time and used my own quince jam instead. I had a few pieces of this pastry brought by a friend directly from Argentina and I could honestly not taste any difference. 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare a 23 cm (9 inch) tart tin with a removable bottom.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the cubed butter and mix it in (by rubbing it with your fingers or with a hand-held mixer) until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until it comes together into a dough. If it still comes apart, add a few tablespoons of milk and mix some more. Press 2/3 of it into the tart tin and up on its sides. Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Prepare the filling by mixing the quince paste or jam with the water and with the other types of jam, if using, over low heat. Pour it into the prepared crust. 

Use the remaining 1/3 of the dough to cut some thin dough strips and braid them on top of the tart in a lattice pattern.

(Mine wasn't really perfectly put together, but I'd say I made a pretty decent job considering our tomcat, Perseus, was also fighting for my attention at the time:)

Prepare the egg-wash and brush the tart with it, then put it in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

You can decorate it with powder sugar, or by brushing it with some apricot jam, if you'd like. I left it as it was, since it was pretty sweet already. 

Cut into slices and it's done, dig in! :)

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