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Olive-Oil Dough for Savory Pies & Tarts

Post submitted by gaaarp.

One of the main reasons I started the Modern Baker Challenge was to learn how to make a successful pastry dough. For all my adventures and experience in the kitchen, both cooking and baking, I’ve never quite mastered the art of pie dough. In fact, I have pretty much given up on it and keep premade, prerolled pie crusts in the freezer.

So when I first picked up a copy of The Modern Baker, I knew that the one thing I wanted to learn from master pastry chef Nick Malgieri was how to make  a good crust. After baking from Nick’s book for about nine months, we’ve finally reached the first section featuring tarts and pies — savory tarts and pies, to be precise. And so my pastry crust adventure has begun.

In this section of the book, Nick provides three crust recipes — rich pie dough, no-roll flaky dough, and this recipe for pastry dough made with olive oil. I have made all three doughs, and this one is by far the most forgiving and the easiest to get into the pan.

As with the other pastry doughs in The Modern Baker, this dough is mixed up in the food processor. I started by measuring flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of the food pro and pulsing a few times to mix it all up. Then I added olive oil, egg, and a little water and processed it until it formed a shaggy ball.

I turned the dough out onto a floured board and pressed it into a disk. Then I wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it until I was ready to make a tart.

When it came time to bake, I took the dough out of the refrigerator and put it on a floured board. I pressed it out a little bit and was surprised at how pliable it was. It felt almost the same as when I put it in the fridge the day before. I rolled the dough out slightly larger than the size of my tart pan.

The dough was very soft and slightly tacky. When making butter-based pastry doughs, I fold the dough twice into a triangle shape to move it to the pan. I found that with this dough, it was easiest just to lift the dough gently into the pan without folding. The dough was pliable, and I found it quite easy to work it into the pan without stretching.

Using olive oil instead of butter makes for a less rich, more savory dough that’s perfect for savory tarts, especially those with a Mediterranean flavor. (I used this particular dough for the Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Tart.) The olive oil also makes this dough very easy to work with. It can be rolled at room temperature without becoming sticky or straight from the refrigerator without being too firm. And it’s nearly impossible to overwork, so you can roll it out without worrying about overdoing it.

The downside to dough made with oil is that it’s not as flaky and light as butter-based pastry dough. Although for a savory tart with lots of texture and flavor of its own, this isn’t such a bad thing.

While I wouldn’t recommend this dough for a sweet pie or tart, it is perfect for savory applications. And if you’ve long shied away from making your own pastry dough, this one would be a perfect place to start, as it’s easy, delicious, and very forgiving.



1. ap269 - January 14, 2011

This was a nice and easy dough for my roasted peppers and goat cheese tart: http://ap269.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/modern-baker-challenge-roasted-pepper-and-goat-cheese-tart/

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