Olive Oil Tortas (Tortas de Aceite)

April 11, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Although packaged olive oil tortas are available for purchase at many grocery stores, my deep, undying, close-your-eyes-and-sigh-with-pleasure sort of love for them necessitated learning to make the snacks myself. Because as much as I wish my bi-monthly paycheck allowed for the constant purchase of what is essentially a dollar-a-cracker snack, it just doesn’t. So until I hit the jackpot, I’ll save buying the real things as a treat every now and then, and make them myself when a craving hits.Rebecca Firkser

Makes: 6 to 9 tortas

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon finely ground aniseed or fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons warm (120º F) water
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • Flavoring, optional (see ideas at the bottom of the recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon fast-acting yeast
  • Granulated cane sugar for topping (omit if making savory crackers)
  • 1 egg white
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind aniseed or fennel seeds. They don’t have to be a fine powder, but the seeds should be cracked open and fairly pulverized.
  2. Whisk the flour, salt, and a few pinches of ground aniseed or fennel seeds together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine warm water, olive oil, extracts, if adding (see flavor variations, below), and yeast and whisk until yeast dissolves. Combine the oil mixture with the flour mixture, then knead with the heel of your hand—inside the bowl is fine, if there’s room—for about five minutes. Alternatively, you can use the dough hook of an electric mixer if that’s more your speed.
  3. If it’s chilly in the kitchen, heat the oven to 200° F for the duration of kneading time, then turn it off. Cover the bowl containing dough with a dish towel and place it in the warm oven with the door open, or find another warm space. Let it sit for 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400° F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly dust a work surface with flour. Pinch off pieces of dough to form mounds about the size of golf balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball into a flat round, about 6 inches in diameter. Rounds should be very thin and fairly—but not very—translucent. If the dough resists being rolled flat, the gluten simply needs to relax a little. Move onto the next ball and then try again.
  5. Place no more than 4 tortas on the baking sheet at a time. Brush each cracker with egg white, then sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and aniseed. If making savory crackers, omit the sugar. If adding extra flavors, sprinkle them on now. Note: If doing a chocolate drizzle/dip, save that for baked crackers.
  6. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on how large and thick crackers are. They can burn within that last 30 seconds, so be cautious. Start with 6 minutes, check the crackers, and rotate the pan. Continue baking at 1-minute intervals until the tortas are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire wrack to cool.
  7. Enjoy the crackers warm, or let cool completely, then wrap individually in waxed paper. Place wrapped crackers in a large zip-top bag. They’ll keep for about 5 days.
  8. Flavor variations: For the sweet-toothed: To the dough add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, vanilla extract, orange flower water, cinnamon, ground star anise, and/or citrus zest; sprinkle with chopped nuts or dried fruit; or drizzle the baked crackers with or dip into melted chocolate post-baking. For the savory snacker: Omit the sugar and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (like rosemary, thyme, or sage), 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh herbs or spices like sweet paprika or sesame seeds, or finely grated Parmesan or Manchego before baking.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Fennel|Olive Oil|Make Ahead|Vegetarian|Snack|Hors D'Oeuvre|Dessert

Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Lisa November 25, 2018
I have not made yet but I'm so excited to see the recipe as I to love these. My favorite are with orange and I thought they had sesame but all the recipes I'm reading are anise. I guess I will try both ways and let you know!
 
Melissa November 12, 2018
Just made these today. I rolled the dough to 6-inches, but they're not quite as crisp as the ones from the package. That's not necessarily a bad thing; they still snap, but they're more flaky than crisp. Even with a generous sprinkling of sugar, they're also significantly less sweet than Ines Rosales', which makes me wonder if perhaps those have sugar in the dough as well? All in all, a successful recipe, if different than what I expected, and I look forward to experimenting with the next batch!
 
Author Comment
Rebecca F. November 13, 2018
You're right—the homemade ones will probably never be quite as perfect as the ones from the package, but in my opinion they're pretty close! Enjoy experimenting with new flavors :)
 
Melissa November 13, 2018
Update: I had divided the dough into eight balls. I rolled the second group of four quite a bit thinner (more like 8-9 inches) and used more sugar on top of the egg white wash. Wish I could attach a picture! Other than their size, they were a dead ringer for Ines Rosales’. Perfect!
 
Caroline May 31, 2016
I love these olive oil tortas too! Yes, buying them is expensive! I have also found a number of packages that tasted rancid, just another argument for making your own! Can't wait to try this recipe! Looks fantastic!
 
Author Comment
Rebecca F. June 2, 2016
aren't they the best?? let me know how it goes if you make them!