Pasta Flora is a sweet treat very closely linked to my childhood. It reminds me of my mum who would always make it around that time of the year using her own homemade jam. My sister and I would help (read: make a mess while having too much fun) preparing the dough and forming long strings with it to cover the base. We would typically have a slice while it was still warm together with a glass of milk and it always tasted like heaven!
Despite its name pasta flora is not a pasta dish! It’s actually a well loved Greek jam tart, made with whatever jam or fruit preserve you fancy. Most people use strawberry or apricot jam but this time I experimented using a mix of lemon and orange jam made from the trees in our backyard in Athens. The tart has taken its name after the Italian traditional type of dough ”pasta frolla”. An Argentinian friend of mine has also told me that pasta flora is also popular in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay where it is typically filled with quince cheese or dulce de leche. Funny who food can be a common link between countries in different continents, right?
This post is a special one as it also includes one of the sweetest and most precious gifts I’ve received. My mum has been preparing a small handwritten book with all my favourite recipes of hers (you can get a glimpse of it in the very last picture) and pasta flora was of course included. We made together this cake to celebrate the occasion and I really wanted to document this moment here on the blog too – an online reminder that food made with love is one of the best things in the world!
Besides being very easy to make, pasta flora is a wonderful dessert that you can have for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The combination of the buttery and crispy dough with the soft and fruity jam in perfect amounts is probably why this dessert has been a staple in our house and hopefully, in yours too once you try it!
For the tart:
▸ 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
▸ ½ cup caster sugar
▸ 2 medium-sized eggs
▸ 125g butter
▸ 50g all-purpose flour
▸ 1 tsp baking powder
▸ zest from 1 lemon
▸ pinch of salt
▸ ½ tsp vanilla powder (optional)
For the filling:
▸ 1 ½ cup jam (any flavour will do)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl beat with a mixer the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla powder, salt and baking powder and mix well. Then combine the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Use your hands if the dough becomes too thick but make sure you don’t overwork the dough.
Butter the bottom and sides of a tart tray. Separate the dough in two pieces. Use 2⁄3 of the dough for the base of the tart: press lightly with your fingers to fill the bottom and sides of the tart tray and trim any overhang. The base should be around 1cm thick. If the pastry tears or breaks, just patch it up.
Spread evenly the jam over the base. Roll out the remaining dough into thin strips and arrange over the jam mixture into a lattice pattern, as seen in the pictures. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool down for a while before cutting and serving so that the jam thickens. Enjoy a big slice and send me a picture on Instagram to show me your masterpiece!