Olive oil vs butter in pastry – the clash of the titans!

Things are progressing at an amazing pace and as a result I’ve fallen behind in writing about them…To our great delight we have just had another job confirmed!

Last week Sue and I went to see a lovely farm shop on the outskirts of Market Harbour, which she came in contact with via Twitter. They were looking for a cake supplier and we decided to pursue the opportunity. After few days of discussing the sample menu, intensive baking and a last minute panic due to a delayed delivery of cellophane and raffia packaging, we were ready. Our samples consisted of:

– Wholemeal orange cake with earl grey icing
– Blackberry and Apple crumble cake
– Fig and Apricot firshermans cake ( this goes lovely with cheese)
– Chocolate and coconut bounty mini cakes
– A goat cheese, fig and caramelised onion wholemeal mini quiche
– A mushroom, bacon and rocket mini quiche

Sally and Kirsty, the two ladies running the shop decided to abandon their Atkins to taste the samples and we are now set for a big launch of our products in the shop sometime in October! We will be writing in more detail about our collaboration with the shop and inviting you to the big launch closer to the date:)

Working on the taster menu gave me the opportunity to test two different quiche pastry recipes and I found it interesting how different they were to handle and bake.

The goat cheese quiche was made using a whole meal olive oil pastry, the recipe for which I found on Cook Eat Live Vegeterian

Whole meal olive oil pastry

  • 250 g wholemeal flour
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 120 ml cold water
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I used herbes the provance mix)
  • 1 tsp of salt

Heat the oven to 200C. Oil a 24cm tart tin. I find that the best way to do this is by wiping it with an oiled kitchen towel. Next dust some flour over the tin. In a bowl, mix together all dry ingredients, add the olive oil and mix well using your fingers, until they resemble little crumbs. Cool down the water by adding a few ice-cubes. Remove the ice and pour the water into the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix it in with the fork until just absorbed then knead a little just until it forms a cohesive ball (overworking will cause the party do go tough.)

Goat Cheese & Fig Quiche
Goat Cheese & Fig Quiche

Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until 2-3 mm thick. Use the rolling-pin to gently lift and unroll the pastry onto the tin. Push the pastry into the tin. Leave the excess overhanging for now, as this will prevent the pastry from shrinking. You’ll cut it off once the pastry is baked and ready.

Chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes. Prick the base of the tart all over with a fork. Cut a circle of baking parchment slightly wider than the base of the tart, and squash it with your hands. Unfold the paper over the tart case, fill with ceramic baking beans ( or, if you don’t have these normal dried beans or rice. Blind bake the case for about 10 minutes. Remove the paper & beans and put back in the oven for another 3 minutes. Tart case prepared in this way is ready to be filled with the filling of your choice and baked.

I found the dough of this pastry very flexible and easy to handle. It didn’t tear easily or crack much in baking. That said, the finished result was slightly disappointing. Despite adding salt and herbs, the tart case was a bit bland and tasteless.

The mushroom quiche was prepared using a recipe for traditional buttery base with the addition of thyme. This was  based on a Gordon Ramsey recipe.

Thyme Butter Pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g cold butter, diced
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves picked
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, to brush the tin
  • 1 egg yolk, to glaze
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves picked

Heat oven to 190C . Mix all dry ingredients with the butter and rub between your fingers into fine crumbs. Mix in the beaten egg and 1 tbsp ice-cold water and kneading lightly. The pastry should be moist. Wrap with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins.
Oil and season a 24cm tart tin. Roll the pastry on a floured surface to 2-3mm thick. Use the rolling-pin to gently lift and unroll the pastry onto the tin. Push the pastry into the tin. Leave the excess overhanging for now.

Mushroom & Bacon Quiche
Mushroom & Bacon Quiche

Chill the tart case for at least 30 mins, ideally in the freezer. Prick the base of the tart all over with a fork and blind bake with the baking beans as in the recipe above, but for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and brush with the egg yolk. Return to the oven for 5 mins, brush again with the yolk and return for a final 10-15 mins until glazed and golden. The tart case is now ready to be filled.

This pastry was more tricky to handle and prone to tearing. The bottom also lifted more during baking and the baked pastry was very delicate and easily breakable. However, it did taste delicious!
The Verdict:
The wholemeal olive oil pastry is much easier to prepare and bake. It adds a bit of unusual touch to your quiches, but I found it bland in taste. I would therefore suggest using it only with fillings that have strong flavours to balance the blandness.
The buttery thyme pastry, whilst tricky to handle, is my firm winner. It doesn’t have the healthy benefits of the wholemeal, but it makes up for it in the taste. It’s delicate, crunchy, but full of salty and herby flavours. Delicious!

Tomorrow is the D day – inspection from the Council to assess my kitchen! I’ll be writing a detailed report of the day, but for now wish me luck!