Adapted from ricettedellanonna.net
Using the quantities listed below, you can make the pasta frolla using the food processor (see my step-by-step picture tutorial here). Alternately, follow the directions below to make the pasta frolla by hand. To avoid wasting the dough and to make as many cookies as possible, re-roll the scraps no more than twice to avoid making the pastry dough tough.
Special equipment: cookie cutters in the shape(s) of your choosing
- 200 grams (1½ cups + 2 Tablespoons) Italian 00 flour or pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (7 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 4 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- Zest of 1 small lemon (optional)
- Fruit preserves or fruit curd (flavor of your choosing) or Nutella
- Powdered sugar
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and the butter. Use a fork to work the butter completely into the flour until it is about the size of peas. Add in the sugar, baking powder, egg, and lemon zest (if using) and work the ingredients in with the fork until they are completely incorporated and the dough comes together with no dry ingredients remaining (this will take some time). If the dough needs more moisture, add in some ice water ¼ teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour or preferably overnight.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature until it is pliable but still chilled. Divide the dough ball in two equal pieces. Flour the board very well and roll out one half of the dough until it is ¼ inch (about 6 mm) thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out as many shapes as possible (re-rolling scraps no more than twice) and transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll out the second half of the dough, following the same procedure. Count how many dough shapes you have and then cut the center out of half of them. Chill the dough shapes for 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Adjust the rack to the center position.
- Space the chilled dough shapes 2-3 inches (approximately 5-7 cm) apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, keeping the remaining dough shapes chilled in the refrigerator. Bake one tray at a time until the cookies take on a very light golden color at the edges, about 8-10 minutes (watch them carefully). Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 -10 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once all the occhi di bue are baked and cooled completely, warm the fruit preserves (if using) in a small saucepan, stirring often, until it bubbles gently. Remove the jam from the heat and transfer it to a small bowl. Let it cool completely to allow it to thicken. In the meantime, sprinkle the cut-out cookie tops with powdered sugar and set aside.
- Spoon a small amount of the fruit preserves (or fruit curd, or Nutella) onto a solid cookie base and use a dinner knife or small offset spatula to spread the filling to the edges of the cookie in a thin, even layer. Top with the cut-out cookie top, making sure not to press down too hard (the filling should not ooze out the sides or center of the cookie). Let the cookies set for 10-15 minutes and serve.