Pasta Flora, the traditional Greek sweet tart topped with a thick layer of jam, is one of my favorite pastries, especially when it’s prepared with good quality ingredients. Because of its biscuity nature, this is not meant to be a dessert. Instead, have it with your afternoon coffee or tea. The kids will also love it with a glass of cold milk.
The best part is that the preparation of this tart is limited to a very-easy-to-make crust; the filing is nothing more than store bought jam that bakes along with the crust, and bubbles and melts, until it becomes a little chewy!
The combination of the buttery and crispy dough with the soft and fruity jam are in perfect amounts in this all time classic recipe found in almost every bakery in Greece.
The tart takes its name after the Italian traditional type of dough “Pasta Frolla” (a type of dough similar to the French “Pâte Brisée” and to the “Shortcrust Pastry”) which is used in this recipe. The tart is also known in some countries in South America as “Pastafrola” but with a different type of filling, such as quince cheese, dulce de leche and other.
In our family, we prepare the pasta flora tart with a flavored dough based on the French “Pâte Sablée” which is a very delicate and fragile variation of the above pastry crusts. For the filling, my preferred marmalade flavor is the apricot and also the sour cherry, but any fruit jam that will top this tart will be just as delicious! The only thing you need to make sure is to use good quality butter and a premium brand of jam (or homemade, ever better!).
For the crust
- 2 sticks + 1 tbsp (250 g) good quality unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, plus more for coating the pie dish
- 1/3 cup sugar
- About 2½ – 3 cups self rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Bread crumbs
For the filing
- 2 cups premium quality jam
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Coat a 10 inch pie dish with butter and bread crumbs.
- Make the crust: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the sugar and the butter until fluffy. Add the egg yolk, the cognac and the lemon zest and mix until incorporated. Add 2½ cups flour and mix gently. If the dough sticks onto your hands, you will need to add the additional 1/2 cup flour. Remove from the bowl and knead together into a ball. Set aside 1/3 of the dough to use later for the lattice. Cover the baking dish with the remaining 2/3 dough, pressing it with your hands onto the bottom and the sides of the dish. Trim off any excess pastry and add the jam.
- Make the lattice: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to create long and thin strips of dough and use the strips to cover the pie. Make sure to leave large intervals of the surface uncovered as you want the jam to be exposed so it can bubble and become a little chewy.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the lattice crust turns golden brown. Allow to cool before serving. Do not refrigerate.