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Olive oil pastry dough


LindaK
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Do others make pastry dough with olive oil? Until yesterday, I’d never done so. I was making a tourte aux blettes, a swiss chard tart, and many of the recipes call for pastry dough made with olive oil.

There are several variations on the dough, too. The most basic is flour, water, and olive oil. Others add eggs, still others a pinch of baking powder.

I opted for the basic recipe out of curiosity. It couldn’t have been simpler—stir the ingredients together with a fork, roll/press it out—and the result was a flaky pie crust with the unmistakable flavor of olive oil. Very rich, delicious, though perhaps too much so in a double crusted application. Next time I make the tourte I’ll try one of the variations but the basic olive oil pastry would be great for a single crust tart.

The concept of olive oil-based pastry dough is such an obvious one for savory tarts, I’m wondering why it isn’t called for more often.

Do you make it? How do you use it?


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I use two different kind of pastry dough with olive oil. One it's very traditional in Liguria in Italy and also around Umbria. It is called "pasta matta" and usually made with flour 00, salt, water and EVOO. Let it rest under a bowl for an hour and roll it thin and then stretch like a strudel dough.

I used to have a blog, in English, which unfortunately I abandoned, but you can find two examples there: Torta di riso e cipolla rice and onion tart. Very good. A common variation is rice and zucchine trombetta, or rice and zucca (farinata di zucca) or rice and chards. Closer to the French border this torta (torta verde) has a sturdier shell and less rice. But in the Ligurian tradition you have many more examples, focaccia di recco, the famous pasqualina.

Also some examples in Umbria, la fogliata from my old blog.

Where I'm from, in Puglia, there are examples of pastry dough with EVOO, much thicker though and often white wine substitute water. I recall one in an old cookbook of mine: a savory pastiera, very tasty.

One of my favourite sweets, a small calzone from back home, is made with pastry dough with EVOO (flour, EVOO, salt and white wine, also with black pepper) and a filling of thick grape jam and walnuts. In Abruzzo they do something similar with a filling of chickpeas and cocoa.

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Funny, I have made pastry with just about every kind of animal fat you can think of but never crossed my mind to make it with olive oil; these applications you name sound perfect, and I can even imagine a very rustic crostata with plums or other stone fruit. I think I blocked out pastries with oil--too horrific-tasting 70s natural-foodish or something. But this makes sense to me.

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Franci, those pastries sound interesting and delicious. They're testing the depth of my Italian cookbooks. I'm finding recipes or mention of some of the dishes you describe, but not all, so thanks for the links. Now that I'm scouring my bookshelves, I am finding others that use olive oil pastry--I especially like the sound of a torta di erbette e carciofi, wild greens and artichoke torta. You mention chickpea and cocoa--really? is it meant as a sweet?

Jane, that was my reaction too! Now I'm marvelling that it took me so long to discover it. I like the stone fruit idea.


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  • 3 years later...

Bumping this up to report on a new favorite olive oil pastry dough.

 

Yesterday I tried Nick Malgieri’s version from “How to Bake.”  Because it includes eggs and a bit of baking powder, it’s different than the version that uses only flour and olive oil—lighter, slightly bready, tender rather than crisp, the olive oil flavor more subtle than pronounced.  Very easy and very good.  He uses it in his swiss chard tart, I used it for a similar swiss chard and artichoke pie.

 


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  • 4 weeks later...

LindaK thanks for this thread!

 

Franci, thanks for your amazing descriptions and recipes.  Your torta lugure and fogliata are beautiful, and I look forward to trying them.

 

I want to get good at pasta matta because I'd like to eat fruit pies/crostata/galettes on a regular basis, but 1/4 - 1/2 lb. of butter per serving is too much for me for an everyday thing (nevermind my budget!).

 

Franci demonstrated too how elegant a dough this can be. 

 

I was first inspired by oil pastry years ago in a Saveur piece on traditional Hungarian strudel dough (can't find it, sorry, but the pictures showed the home cooks [women] making dough from a small lump into sheets that were yards wide).  I was amazed and hoped that one day I could begin to learn what they had mastered over a lifetime. 

 

I had seen even longer ago, too, (source forgotten), pictures of an artisan making filo dough (another oil-and-water dough) by hand, starting again with a lump of dough and finishing with it stretched over a table that seems in my memory at least six feet in diameter.

 

LindaK, thank you for resurrecting this thread.  I feel this is a neglected basic pastry with so many applications, and I hope other eGulleteers will pick up on this and maybe contribute their tips and experiences with pasta matta.

 

LindaK, how did your experience with the Malgieri recipe go?  Did you make it free-form, or in a tin or dish?

 

Thanks!

Edited by afn33282 (log)
Frau Farbissma: "It's a television commercial! With this cartoon leprechaun! And all of these children are trying to chase him...Hey leprechaun! Leprechaun! We want to get your lucky charms! Haha! Oh, and there's all these little tiny bits of marshmallow just stuck right in the cereal so that when the kids eat them, they think, 'Oh this is candy! I'm having fun!'"
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afn33282, I liked the Malgieri olive oil dough very much. It was very tender, a little flaky, with a subtle olive oil flavor.  I think I prefer it to the first recipe I tried, at least for a two crust pie, which was just too rich to have that much olive oil in each bite.

 

I used Malgieri's recipe in a spring form pan. You can see the photo here in the Savory Baking topic.  Though it was easy to work with, it was very soft and needed more refrigerator time than I gave it.  Here's what I said about the dough:

 

 

The only tricky part was the olive oil dough.  It's a lot softer than dough made with cold butter, especially with the egg addition. I chilled it for maybe 90 minutes before I rolled it out (this recipe was a last minute dinner decision, not a carefully thought out plan. It was getting late and I was hungry!)  It was still somewhat soft, so when I lined the springform, the dough wanted to collapse and couldn't be neatly pressed against the sides. Solved by draping it over the edges and quickly adding the filling.  Next time I will let it chill longer.

 

 

By chance, I recently picked up a used copy of Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean and found a recipe for yet another style of olive oil dough, this one with yeast.  I hope to give it a try soon and will report back.

 

Wolfert's book also has a recipe (complete with a story and illlustrations) for Macedonian phyllo dough, which sounds similar to what you describe.  It looks tricky, but if you like pastry dough and a challenge, you might want to give it a try.

 

And I agree, Franci's photos are beautiful!

 


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I was first inspired by oil pastry years ago in a Saveur piece on traditional Hungarian strudel dough (can't find it, sorry, but the pictures showed the home cooks [women] making dough from a small lump into sheets that were yards wide).  I was amazed and hoped that one day I could begin to learn what they had mastered over a lifetime. 

 

I had seen even longer ago, too, (source forgotten), pictures of an artisan making filo dough (another oil-and-water dough) by hand, starting again with a lump of dough and finishing with it stretched over a table that seems in my memory at least six feet in diameter.

 

 

The recipe in Peterson's Baking is pretty easy to work with. The pictures below are of my 3rd effort and I was quite pleased with the results. 

Here is the dough stretched with a coating of crumbs:

crumb coat.jpg

 

Here is a line of cherries and slivered almonds on one end:

line of cherries.JPG

 

Beginning to roll:

begin the roll.JPG

 

On the pan:

on the pan.JPG

 

Finished product:

cherry close up.jpg

 

I also made one with cabbage and sour cream:

cabbage close up.JPG

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I'm very impressed! Beautiful! Thanks for the photos, cyalexa; you were justified in being pleased.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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cyalexa,

Your pastry-making is VERY impressive. Thank you for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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