Baking a Better Holiday: a Primer On Baking with Olive Oil – Part 2

Like wine, different extra virgin olive oils deliver different flavor profiles, including when you use the oil in baking a cake or cookie. Olive oil can make other contributions to baked goods, too, such as helping ensure a dish is moist.

Baking with Olive Oil
Photo courtesy of www.artisanbreadinfive.com

To assist you with your holiday baking and cooking, we’ve asked baking experts for tips on using olive oil with baked goods and desserts (you can click here to see an earlier blog post about how to substitute olive oil for butter in baking).

Below is a Q&A:

How should you approach pairing a dessert or baked good with a particular olive oil flavor profile?

Fran Costigan, vegan pastry chef: “Olive oil can be considered a flavoring agent for a dessert when you want to use the oil that way. … Think about what it is your making. A robust oil (like Arbosana) can go with some chocolate desserts, such as: a tartine, which is simply warmed melty chocolate on a crusty baguette, or an olive oil ganache spread on the bread, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt. … When I want to taste the olive oil, I’ll go to an oil such as Arbequina, Arbosana, or Miller’s Blend.”

Matthew Kadey, registered dietitian and recipe developer: “I would use a more delicate flavored oil if you are just using the olive oil to add moisture to a baked item and don’t want its flavor to come through. But for items like dinner rolls that can benefit from olive oil’s flavor, I would gravitate towards a stronger flavored choice.”

Are there any particular desserts and dishes that go especially well with extra virgin olive oil?

Costigan: “It’s very nice in most all chocolate confections. I particularly like lemon scented chocolate olive oil sauces and creams. … Olive oil and almonds are great together, like my orange almond olive oil cake. For something different, drizzle a robust oil on the chestnut cake known as castagnaccio.” (The recipes for both of these cakes are featured in the recipe section of our website under desserts.)

Jeff Hertzberg, best-selling author of the new book, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day (St. Martin’s Press, 2011): “I always drizzle it on top of pizza.”

What does extra virgin olive oil contribute to baked goods – flavor, texture, etc.?

Sarah House, recipe specialist for Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods: “Extra virgin olive oil produces light and moist baked goods with rich olive oil background notes while letting the accompanying flavors shine through.  There are all the nutritional benefits of olive oil — like very low saturated fat — and it helps extend the shelf life of the product.  Olive oil is an excellent fat for (my spelt cake with caramelized apples) to lighten the otherwise dense and heavy whole grain flours.” (Click here to see the recipe for the olive oil spelt cake.)

Kadey: “I find that it adds a nice earthy, peppery flavor to baked items. It’s an especially good addition to baked goods that you would consider more savory than sweet.

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch