Olive oil dessert recipes

Apr 29, 2009 at 9:03 p.m. ET

Olive oil is almost always used in savory dishes, but olive oil adds a lovely flavor and moistness to many a dessert. Combining the lusciousness of good olive oil with scintillatingly sweet ingredients results in remarkable desserts that are also better for your health.

Budnt Cake

What type of olive oil is best for dessert?

Determining how intense of an olive oil flavor you want in your dessert can help you determine which variety of olive oil to use. If you want a notable olive oil flavor, choose extra-virgin olive oil. If you want a more subtle flavor, opt for virgin or regular olive oil. Regardless, make sure the olive oil you use smells and tastes fresh – it will be a prominent flavor component in your dessert.

Experiment with different flavors

Using olive oil in a dessert gives you the opportunity to try new and wonderful flavor combinations. Citrus, such as lemon, orange or tangerine, pairs well with olive oil in cakes, as do nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts. Chocolate may overwhelm the delicate olive oil flavor, but, on the upside, the olive oil will produce a heavenly moist chocolate cake. Herbs such as thyme, basil or sage will add a lovely depth of spring flavor that partners well with olive oil. Just be sure to keep ingredients simple so you don't mask the distinctive olive oil flavor.

Enhance the olive oil flavor with a dash of salt

Sweet and salty flavors are quite complementary in the right proportions. Olive oil cake and olive oil ice cream become impeccable desserts with a little sea salt sprinkled on top. However, if directly sprinkling salt on a sweet treat seems too outrageous, simply add a dash of sea salt to homemade whipped cream before topping off your olive oil desserts.

Olive oil desserts are made for fruit and wine

Fruit compote, particularly compote made with berries or grapes, makes olive oil desserts even more remarkable. Thinking about how much you love bread dipped in olive oil paired a glass of wine? The same lovely pairing applies with dessert. Be adventurous, try a glass of wine with your slice of olive oil cake (a glass of milk will pale in comparison).

Olive oil dessert recipes

Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
14 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces low-fat milk
3 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch bundt pan with olive oil.

2. Beat eggs with sugar, olive oil, milk and lemon zest. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

3. Pour mixture into bundt pan and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate and let cool fully. Serve with a fruit compote and glass of wine.

Olive Oil Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

1-1/3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks, beaten in a large bowl
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Heat milk, sugar and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.

2. Whisk in a bit of warm milk to beaten eggs to temper them. Slowly add remaining milk mixture, whisking continuously so the eggs do not cook. Pour mixture back into saucepan and heat, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens.

3. Pour the cream into a bowl and place a strainer on top of the bowl. Pour the egg mixture through the strainer and gently stir. Mix in the olive oil and let cool. Prepare ice cream according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Olive Oil and Thyme Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Beat in olive oil and gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in thyme.

3. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with berries and yogurt. 

Health benefits of olive oil and more recipes:

Heart-healthy recipes with olive oil
The healthiest cooking oils: Good for you fats 
10 Foods every woman should eat