A traditional and easy recipe for Pasta Flora, a Greek jam tart recipe
Πάστα φλώρα. Pasta Flora is a traditional Greek jam tart recipe that is so easy to make! It is perfect with a morning cup of coffee, or as an afternoon pick-me-up with some tea. This old-fashioned classic is one of the simplest desserts found in the Greek kitchen, using ingredients you probably already have at home.
This recipe comes from our dear Thea Voula, the wife of our beloved uncle, (and our mama’s baby brother). They were visiting us from Greece this summer and we had the great pleasure of spending many hours in the kitchen with Thea! What a treat! We can’t wait to share with you all of the other wonderful recipes she taught us.
Everyone loves this traditional Greek jam tart. Our Thea Voula makes her Pasta Flora in a large pan (using a 10 x 15 inch rectangular glass pan) which can feed a lot of people. Being the wife of a priest she often makes Pasta Flora to be shared on the bus when group tours are organized with the church. Everyone gets super excited when they see that she has made this recipe, and there is enough for everyone.
If you prefer not to make such a large dessert, no problem. You can use this recipe to make two smaller Pasta Flora, in 8 or 9 inch round pie plates or tart pans. If you will not be serving them both, you can freeze one of them. Your Pasta Flora can be frozen baked or unbaked.
Although Pasta Flora is a Greek jam tart recipe that is traditionally made with apricot jam (at least that is how we know it!), any jam can work beautifully. You can use homemade jam of course, but a good quality store-bought jam that you love will make this dessert even easier to whip together!
Although you can prepare the dough for your Pasta Flora in a stand mixer, after adding the flour you can also knead it by hand. The dough will appear very sticky at first, but before you know it you will have a smooth ball of dough that you can easily spread on the bottom of your pan.
The dough is buttery and crumbly when baked, and very easy to work with before baking. If it breaks apart as you are decorating the top of your Pasta Flora, don’t worry. Simply pinch it back into place.
We hope that you will love our Thea Voula’s Pasta Flora recipe as much as we do! This traditional dessert has become one of our favourites. We think it will be yours too!
What is Pasta Flora?
Pasta Flora is called Pasta Frolla in Italian and it is a very popular dessert in various countries, but has its origins in Italy.
Pasta Flora is a jam tart recipe that is made with a shortbread-like crust, and which is filled with jam. The layer of jam is thin and the top is decorated with more dough, usually in some sort of lattice pattern.
Why you will love our Pasta Flora, Greek jam tart recipe
- Delicious: The combination of a buttery and flaky crust, along with a sweet jam center is really perfect.
- Customizable: You can make this dessert your own by using your favourite jam filling.
- Easy: This recipe can be made without any mixer or food processor. You can use a mixer if you want, but preparing the dough by hand is simple. It’s also a fun way to get kids involved in the kitchen – they love mixing ingredients by hand!
- No need to roll our dough: To make this recipe even easier, you don’t even have to roll our the dough. Simply transfer the dough to the greased baking pan and press it with your hands to ensure an even coverage on the bottom and up the sides of your baking pan.
- Economical: There are no fancy ingredients here, and not many ingredients. You probably already have everything that you need in your pantry.
What you need to make Pasta Flora, our Greek jam tart recipe
Self-raising flour. This flour does not need the addition of any leavening agent. If you do not have self-raising flour, don’t worry. Here is an easy substitution:
1 cup of self-raising flour = 1 cup of all purpose (regular) flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Butter. We use unsalted butter in our recipe, which we melt in the microwave. Melting the butter makes it so much easier to prepare the dough.
Eggs. One large egg and one egg yolk are used to help bind the dough and give it a lovely flavour and colour. Do not waste that egg white! Use it to make our Greek almond (amygdalota) cookies!
Sugar. For sweetness, but not too much! Just a perfect amount.
Lemon zest. For a lemony citrus flavour to your dough.
Cognac. A little bit of cognac gives your pastry a nice colour, and flavour. If you prefer to omit it, add 1 tablespoon of orange juice, or water.
Vanilla powder. Our aunt, like our parents, uses vanilla powder in her baking. If you use vanilla extract, adjust the quantity as indicated in the recipe. Vanilla is always a welcome addition to baked goods.
Apricot jam. The jam is essential to the Pasta Flora. We love a sweetened apricot jam, but any jam variety will do!
We use a 10 x 15 glass baking pan to bake our Pasta Flora. You can also use pie pans or tart pans (you will need two of them for this recipe).
The use of a mixer or food processor is optional.
A bowl for mixing the ingredients.
An off-set spatula (or back of a spoon) for spreading the jam evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Step by step instructions on how to make Pasta Flora, our Greek jam tart recipe.
- Begin by melting your butter in the microwave or in a small pot.
- Use a bit of butter to grease the bottom and sides of your pan.
- In a large bowl add in the egg and egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and cognac. Slowly add in the melted butter while you are mixing the other ingredients together (either by hand with a whisk, or with the paddle attachement of a stand mixer). You want to be mixing as you add the butter because you don’t want the hot butter to curdle the eggs.
- Next add in your flour a bit at a time. You can use your mixer or your hands to mix everything together. You will see that the dough becomes soft and easy to work with.
- Take 2/3 of your dough and use your hands to spread it evenly on the bottom of your pan and up the sides.
- Spread your jam on the dough.
- Use the remaining dough to decorate the top of your jam tart.
- Bake in the middle rack of your oven (preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 30 minutes, or until the bottom and top of your Pasta Flora is a golden brown.
- Allow to cool a bit before serving.
Pasta Flora variations
- Make your Pasta Flora recipe dairy free by substituting the butter with margarine.
- Although apricot jam is very traditional, you can use any flavour jam you like for your Greek jam tart recipe.
- Divide this recipe in half (use 1 large egg only) to make a smaller Pasta Flora. Or, make the entire recipe and make two smaller desserts using 8 or 9 inch round pie plates.
- Add orange zest instead of (or along with) your lemon zest to your dough for added flavour.
- Make individual Pasta Flora by using a muffin pan, or small tart pans.
Greek jam tart recipe (Pasta Flora)
- 1 baking pan 10 x 15 inches
- 1 stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachment optional
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp cognac
- ¼ tsp vanilla powder or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3½ cups self-raising flour
- 500 ml apricot jam
- Preheat oven to 350 °F
- Melt butter. Use a little bit of the butter to grease the bottom and sides of your baking pan. If your butter was wrapped in paper you can use the butter remaining on the paper to grease your pan.1 cup unsalted butter
- In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the melted butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk, grated lemon zest, cognac and vanilla. Mix well at medium speed using the paddle attachment of our mixer for approximately 5 minutes.½ cup sugar, 1 large egg, 1 egg yolk, grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp cognac, ¼ tsp vanilla powder
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the flour. Mix using the dough hook attachment until just combined and the dough holds together. Alternatively, you can add the dough and mix or knead by hand until a ball of dough forms.3½ cups self-raising flour
- Divide your dough into 2/3 and 1/3 portions. Spread the 2/3 portion of your dough across the bottom and up the sides of your baking pan. Using your hands spread it out evenly.
- Spoon the jam onto the dough in your pan and spread it evenly across the bottom. The layer of jam will be thin.500 ml apricot jam
- With the remaining 1/3 portion of dough, create a design on the top of your dough. A typical presentation is to roll out strands of dough and create a criss cross pattern.
- Bake in middle rack of your oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the bottom and top of your crust is a golden brown.
- Allow to cool before serving.