A seasonal crostata di frutta fresca
How you can turn pasta frolla into a fresh, colourful birthday cake with pastry cream and seasonal fruit.
As soon as summer ends, pasta frolla makes a comeback into my kitchen.
Pasta frolla is one of the first pastry recipes I learned to make as a child. Standing on a stool in my mum’s kitchen, wearing a worn-out apron that looked more like a nightgown on me, with a Disney movie in the background—these were the best moments of the week when I was allowed to play with flour and butter.
This rich, buttery Italian shortcrust pastry is a staple in the repertoires of fine pastry chefs and family home cooks alike. In the home kitchen, the versatile dough is the starting point for many humble, reliable recipes, from simple shortbread cookies to rustic jam-filled crostatas.
You can turn pasta frolla into a fresh, colourful birthday cake with pastry cream and seasonal fruit. And today I’m sharing this recipe, a seasonal crostata di frutta fresca.
October is a busy month for birthday celebrations in our family: first my sister Claudia, then her partner Marco, then Tommaso. This year, I made a fresh fruit tart for everyone, as I could easily divide the cake preparation into three steps, making it the perfect cake for a busy mum who falls asleep at 9pm.
To have the birthday cake ready for Sunday at lunchtime, this is how I organized myself over the weekend.
Friday night. Make the shortcrust pastry and refrigerate.
Saturday night. Roll out the shortcrust pastry and blind bake it. While the tart shell is baking, prepare the pastry cream. Cool it down and keep it in the fridge.
Sunday morning. Prepare the fresh fruit tart. It can be kept in the fridge for a day. Enjoy it!
In the beginning, I thought this cake could be a bit old-fashioned, a cake with a striking ‘80s attitude. Choosing seasonal fruit and changing the decoration style - a casual/messy/studied pattern rather than a typical concentric pattern - upped the game of crostata di frutta, though, and turned it into a new favourite.
More recipes with pasta frolla from the blog archive
Farro and ricotta tart. This farro and ricotta tart has a soft filling as the farro is simmered in milk and cream and later stirred into the ricotta. There’s a delicate orange hint and a handful of chocolate chips in the filling.
Whole wheat crostata with lemon marmalade. It is easy to make a crostata, it doesn’t require special tools or any kind of skills. Choose your favourite jam or marmalade, and decorate as you like it.
Occhi di bue. Occhi di bue are a reassuring constant in any pastry shop, bar or bakery counter in Italy. They’ve always been there since I can remember. When I went to school, in the morning, I would stop at the local bakery to buy a focaccia as a snack, and they were there, round and neatly arranged in a paper tray.
Pasta Frolla, Italian Shortcrust Pastry
This is the basic recipe for pasta frolla that I learned from my mum years ago. She would use it to make crostate or biscotti, and I often do the same, finding comfort in following a reliable path. You’ll need to make it at least a few hours in advance, or the day before you plan to use it, to give it time to rest.