It is used as the base for tart shells, pies shells, cookies, pasticcini, and crostate, though it doesn’t have to be used for desserts: savoury fillings can be put in tart shells made of Pasta Frolla.
It is made a little differently from Pâte Sucrée. Instead of the butter being rubbed or cut in, it’s creamed first into sugar and eggs, then the flour is added. A few recipes, though, will tend to be more French in their directions, and have you mix the butter and the flour first.
Some recipes call for caster sugar, some for icing sugar.
Some recipes call for a whole egg, some for egg yolks, some leave the egg as optional. Whole eggs gives a slightly drier and crispier result.
Some recipes call for a flavouring, but you normally leave that out if you’re going to be using your dough for a savoury dish.
Increasing butter by a bit makes the end result a bit softer. It is best if the butter is cold from the fridge.
If you have access to a low-gluten flour, that will improve your chances of success. As with all pastry, it mustn’t be overworked, because it will end up tough if gluten develops.
If the dough seems too crumbly to you — won’t form a ball for instance, or sticks to your hands, add half an egg white, form into ball, and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Be careful about adding more flour, or just working it until it forms a ball — you will probably just make it tough doing either.
Pasta Frolla absolutely needs to be chilled before using, as it is quite sticky. This chilling period also allows the butter in it to resolidify, and for the flour, which has been stretched out during the mixing, to relax and unstretch.
Doti, Irene. Italian Desserts: Dolce Memories. New York: Basic Books. 1998. Page 90.