Pastafrola is a Paraguayan and Argentinian pie made with a crumbly shortbread crust, filled with your choice of quince paste, guava paste or dulce de leche. The pie can be enjoyed as a sweet way to start your day, served alongside coffee or tea, or as a filling dessert after dinner.
This dish is easy to assemble with most of its ingredients being kitchen staples. If the fruit fillings are not available at your local grocery store, the dulce de leche can be made at home. It is recommended to use a stand mixer to mix the pie crust dough, however, due to the loose and crumbly consistency of the dough, it is also easy to properly mix by hand.
Be sure that if you are using a premade dulce de leche or guava paste, microwave the paste in small batches, for about 10-15 seconds, to create an easily spreadable consistency. Otherwise, the crumbly pie crust might break apart.
Origin & Cultural Significance
It is thought that the original version of Pastrafola came from across the Atlantic Ocean in Italy. The lattice pattern of the crust is reminiscent of Italian pastry decorative styles, and Paraguay’s and Argentina’s many interactions with Europe would not make this theory improbable.
The inclusion of quince paste as a variation of Pastafrola also speaks to the dish’s European influence. At the same time, dulce de leche and guava are both iconic ingredients originating in the Americas.
- All-purpose flour - 2 cups
- White sugar - ⅔ cup
- Eggs - 2
- Unsalted butter - ⅔ cup
- Jam, Guava or Qince - 14 - 16 oz.
- Baking powder - 2 tsp.
- Vanilla - to taste
- Lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- Prepare your dough. Begin by beating together the butter and sugar. This will take about 3-4 minutes until the mixture is a very pale yellow or white.
- Incorporate the vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs, making sure to leave a small amount of egg to the side. Beat until the mixture turns creamy.
- In a medium bowl, sift your flour and mix it with baking powder and sugar. Form a well in the center of the dry mixture and place the creamy mixture inside. Combine the two mixtures to get a dense and compact dough, being careful not to overmix.
- Cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- At the end of the time, preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Take the dough from the freezer and flatten using a rolling pin. Flatten until dough is about ¼ inch thick.
- In a tart pan or small pie pan, take a section of the flattened dough and line the pan, making sure to remove any that spills over the edges.
- Fill the pie. Using your choice of filling (guava, quince, or dulce de leche) to fill the pie.
- With the remainder of your flattened dough (this might require reshaping and flattening), create a lattice pattern atop the pie to cover the fruit filling. You can leave the filling to peek through, as this is the traditional style of the pastafrola.
- Using the egg side aside from earlier, lightly brush the pie with an egg wash.
- Bake in the oven at 350 F for 40 minutes. The crust should be golden and crispy around the edges. To test if it has reached perfection, run the blunt edge of a knife along the crust. You should hear the sound of it scraping.
- Let cool for 25-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 6g
Photo credit: Pastelero