Quick & Easy Vegan Pastry With Olive Oil

The precise practice of perfect pastry seems to hinge on the inclusion of butter, but that means that those who opt for a plant-based diet are cut out of the world of pies, tarts, and beyond—until you broaden the scope of your pastry search. So we were more than pleasantly surprised to find an all-star vegan pastry recipe in Dessert Person, the new cookbook from dessert queen Claire Saffitz. And even better, her vegan pastry option is based around a familiar Mediterranean diet pantry staple: olive oil.

“As a baker I prize all that butter, with its flake-making properties and rich flavor, brings to the table,” writes Saffitz in the introduction to the recipe, “so I was surprised to learn that olive oil can, in fact, produce a tender, flaky, vegan alternative to classic pie dough.”

The process isn’t exactly a simple swap in of olive oil for butter in a traditional pie dough recipe: it relies on a process of rolling out the dough, brushing on the olive oil, and adding folds before rolling it out and repeating the process to create the layers that give this crust it’s flaky texture.

The final product does have a bit of that signature olive oil flavor, and so it’s best to keep that in mind when planning to use the recipe. “Because the crust is redolent of olive oil, I think it works best in savory recipes,” she says, “but for a version that pairs well with sweet, see the coconut oil variation” (which we’ve shared the details of below).

Coconut oil is, of course, a popular swap for butter in vegan baking but it doesn’t always work because of it’s strong, distinct flavor—which is why this olive oil alternative may just get a regular recurring role on our pastry rotations going forward.

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