03 December 2009

Yeasted Pastry Crust

The friend who introduced me to Dessert Grec also introduced me to the New York Times Health Section recipes. Like so many in the DC area, I get the Washington Post, and don't read the Times. Even if I did, I wouldn't look to the Health Section for something to eat, but that is where Martha Rose Schulman posts a new recipe every week, one purporting to have certain healthful components. I found the setup a bit cumbersome, a recipe index would be handier than an un-alphabetized list of themes/ingredients, but C- likes it and while I was visiting last month, we made a few of the recipes. Some were better than others (cauliflower topped with nearly straight up tahini was a miss) but I was intrigued by a whole pastry dough made with yeast and resolved to give it another go when I got home.

When I got home a few weeks ago, I made a batch of the dough in about 5 minutes, using my KitchenAid. So far so good. The dough rose exactly as expected and I rolled a little less than half of it out to use as a crust for a spinach pie. As Schulman notes, it is easier to work with than a traditional pie crust- the gluten you develop with a light kneading makes the dough stronger and less prone to holes and breaking. Another plus- it's made with half whole wheat flour and perhaps the biggest plus of all, just a quarter of a cup of olive oil, making it much lower in fat, saturated fat, and calories than a traditional crust. It does have a pronounced whole wheat flavor, which I liked in the spinach pie, but which has the potential to overpower more delicate ingredients. I found it a tad salty as well; next time I'll reduce the salt a bit and see if that helps.

Even with the slight problems, this is my new go-to crust for savory applications, especially in pie form. For sweet things and if when I want a flakier crust, say for free form apple pie, I'll still use my
Better for You Pie Crust . One last note- with the dough scraps from tonight's dinner, I made simple plain and cinnamon sugar crackers, the best homemade crackers I've ever made. It's worth making a batch or half batch of the dough, rolling it thin, and then baking it up for a crispy snack.

For Martha Rose Schulman's Whole Wheat Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry click

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