Does margarine bubble and brown and is this critical to making the crust? I know I forego flavor but....
Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52
I'm not sure how Earth Balance would behave, but you could substitute a combination of oils that you like -- maybe a mix of stronger flavors like olive or walnut combined with a neutral oil like canola. Nut oils would mimic the nuttiness of the brown butter.
I would still heat up the oil, water and sugar (since the flour starts cooking as soon as you stir it in) but you will just want to watch closely to make sure the oil doesn't start to smoke.
I hope this helps! Here's another great oil-based crust, which could be made dairy free if you substituted for the small amount of milk: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
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