The Sub: Olive Oil for Butter in Pie Crust
Late last summer, my friend Terresa Murphy—who just happens to run La Cucina di Terresa, a popular vegetarian cooking school in Paris—invited me over for an evening of dinner and conversation. It was a memorable get-together, as is every food-filled soirée at Terresa’s;I never know what culinary magic she’ll cast, but I always know that whatever she prepares will explode with flavor and feature the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season.
On that particular balmy night, the meal centered on green tomatoes, thickly sliced and tucked inside a homemade pie crust, sprinkled with herbs, and baked in the oven until the crust was golden and the tomatoes were perfectly soft and juicy. Tucking into my first forkful, I thought I’d died and gone to epicurean heaven. This rustic-looking tart boasted such a rich, buttery flavor (sans butter) and a perfect crispness that before I knew it, I was not only asking for seconds, but begging for the recipe.
Terresa is a sharer, thank goodness. She’s also a minimalist who relies on high-quality, organic ingredients to give her simple recipes—like this one—their deliciously sophisticated yet earthy flavors.
This pie crust can be used for both sweet and savory tarts; try layering thin slices of vine-ripened tomatoes with zucchini and onion, then adding a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of sea salt before sliding in the oven. Fresh berries or stone fruits like plums, peaches, or apricots would make an equally scrumptious sweet filling.
Terresa’s Olive Oil Pie Crust
Makes one 9-inch crust
1 1/2 cups flour (can use up to ¾ cup whole-wheat flour)
3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
Unrefined sea salt
1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.Add olive oil, and using your hands, rub flour and oil together until mixture turns crumbly. Make a well in the middle, and add 1/4 cup water. Continue mixing with your hands or a fork until dough beings to clump. Add water as needed, until dough forms a tight ball. Refrigerator dough 1 to 2 hours.
2. When dough has chilled, use the heel of your hand to lightly knead and flatten the ball, then use a rolling pin to roll out into a 9-inch circle. Add extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking to work surface.
3. Place inside a pie pan, and add filling of choice. Bake 30 minutes, and allow to cool before serving.