Ask Judy – Canola Oil Pastry: Is it really possible?

Q: Is is really possible to make pastry using canola oil?

A: Yes it is possible to make pastry using canola oil and here is how…

Pie pastries are one of the most delicate of all baked products to make successfully. Success in making a great pie pastry depends on the right proportions of ingredients and the correct preparation techniques. It takes skill to correctly distribute the fat and to mix the dough just long enough to create a flaky, tender crust.

Most pastry recipes contain only 4 ingredients:

1. flour
2. fat
3. liquid
4. salt.

Optional pastry ingredients:

Eggs,
Sugar,
Other ingredients such as ground nuts, vinegar, vodka, baking powder, etc.

The role of fat in pastry

The proportion of fat is probably the most important determinant to ensure a flaky, tender crust. The type of fat used in making pastry crust plays a role in the finished product. When fat is cut into small, cold, pieces, the fat melts during baking. It leaves empty spaces where steam may collect to leaven and lift the layers of dough. These spaces create the ‘flakiness’ of pastry. To maximize flakiness, it is important to keep all ingredients and utensils as cold as possible.

Ingredient order matters

The fat is added to the flour, before the liquid, to protect the flour from the addition of water, and therefore, the problem with gluten development. (In a nutshell, gluten development will result in a less tender crust.)

Type of fat used = different pastry

Different types of fat, used in pastry making, produce different end results. Shortening and lard produce flaky crusts. These fats coat the flour easily and result in a fairly pliable dough.

Butter and margarine may be used in pastry making but their water content causes increased gluten formation. And, once refrigerated, the doughs which contain butter harden and it is then difficult to roll out the dough.

Using frozen CANOLA OIL, in pastry making, results in an extremely tender pastry with slightly grainy texture. The frozen canola oil will mimic a solid fat! How cool is that? However, you will need to prepare your oil in advance. The CANOLA OIL will need 2 hours, to harden, in the freezer.

frozen canola oil in measuring cup

Addional ingredients in pastry

The use of additional ingredients only enhances the flavours of pastries. Eggs will help to tenderize the pastry. Sugar will, of course, sweeten the pastry but it also acts as a tenderizer by competing with the flour for water.

Sugar, as well as milk and egg,  will aid in the browning of the crust. Vinegar or lemon juice may be added to the pastry, on the principal that the acid will help to inhibit gluten formation, and therefore produce more tender crusts.

Ground nuts contribute great flavour when added to the doughs. Adding baking powder will aid in the rising of the crust.

The following pastry recipe produces a nutty, tender crust that you can use for any recipe in which the pie crust is baked before adding the filling. It is a great tasting crust and you can vary the flavour by switching the almonds to hazelnuts or replacing the vinegar with lemon juice or maybe even lime juice.

Still not sure about making pastry?  You can follow along step by step in Jenn’s blog post “I Don’t Make Pastry” as she made a meat pie for her family.

Be Well…Judy

Ask Judy Guest BloggerJudy is a home economist, educator, food stylist, recipe developer & tester, mom, lazy gardener and Zumba enthusiast.  She welcomes the opportunity to experiment with new food items and share her passion and creativity with her clients, family and friends.

She is the food stylist for www.canolainfo.org and www.canolaeatwell.com as well as many other clients.  If you have a recipe or ingredient question for Judy be sure to send it in to info@mcgacanola.org or leave it in the comment section below.

9 thoughts on “Ask Judy – Canola Oil Pastry: Is it really possible?

  1. Hi
    I have always wanted to make saurkraut, is there a specific time of the year that would be best because it has to ferment?

  2. Jenn, I think something is off with your measurements. I see you’ve used ml’s for dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder). Could you please give the correct measurements in grams? I like to weigh dry ingredients rather than rely on measuring cups. Thank you.

    1. Hi Brenda,
      Thanks for your comment. All of the recipes at Canola Eat Well are developed using cups and ml for dry ingredients. This is done to meet the needs and cooking/baking style of the typical home cook.
      Happy baking and eat well…
      Jenn

      1. Jenn, as I understand, ml’s are used for wet ingredients, grams for dry. I am confused by your including ml’s for dry ingredients. Am I missing something here? For example, 625 ml equals around 21 ounces liquid. I don’t see how 2 1/2 cups flour equals 21 ounces. I’d like to make your recipe, so I guess I’ll use cups and measuring spoons for dry ingredients and my pyrex measuring cup for liquid. I prefer weighted measures as I get better results with those than with volume measures. I appreciate your posting your recipe. Thank you.

  3. I have been searching for a better crust for quiche, so I thought I’d give this one a try, I was a little taken aback at first due to the amount of liquid. I was always told to only use enough water to barely hold the dough together. This dough was real gooey. I baked it empty at 375 for ten minutes like I usually do for quiche and then added the filling and baked for 425 for another 20 minutes. Wow! This was the best quiche I ever made and I’ve been doing it for 40 years. I will definitely use this crust next time and will try it for pie, too.

    On another note, ml is a measurement of volume whether you are measuring dry or liquid.

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