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PASTA FROLLA

175g/6 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
40g/1.5oz caster sugar
125g/4.5oz unsalted butter, chilled
1 egg yolk

Sift the flour, salt and sugar onto a cold surface (marble is ideal).
Make a well in the centre then add the butter in walnut sized pieces
(I usually cube the butter into even smaller pieces..it's faster) and
the egg yolk. Work the ingredients together with your fingertips,
gradually bringing the flour into the centre. Work until the
ingredients come together as a dough, adding a little iced water if
necessary.

Flour the work surface and knead the ball of dough lightly and gently
until smooth. It is now ready to roll or press out into a tart/flan
tin. When you have rolled it out and fitted it into the flan tin, lightly
prick the base of the dough with fork, cover with cling film and chill
for at least 30 minutes. Bake blind as usual and cool on a wire rack.


PASTA FROLLA II

The addition of baking powder gives a more crumbly result which is
delicious to eat. Because of its soft texture, this dough is best
used for pies and tarts in which the filling and pastry are baked
together although I tend to use this one exclusively, regardless
of what sort of tart I make because it is the nicest of the two.

The ingredients for this version are exactly the same except that
the amount of sugar should be increased to 65g/2.5oz and add 0.25
teaspoon of baking powder to the flour when you sift it.

Proceed as for the first recipe.


Food Processor Method:

Place the caster sugar, the chilled butter and the egg yolk into
the food processor and process for a few seconds until combined.
Add the sifted flour, salt and baking powder (if using) and process
for a few seconds until it forms a ball. Remove and knead briefly
until smooth then roll out and proceed as above.


Variations:

Add a little finely grated lemon or orange zest to the wet ingredients.

Add a little chilled white wine or grappa (colourless Italian brandy,
similar to schnapps) or a little vin santo when mixing the wet
ingredients.

Add a little pure vanilla or almond essence to the wet ingredients.

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