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Old 10-23-2012, 03:44 AM   #1
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Butter vs shortening for pie crust?

Is there a significant difference in taste/texture/workability to justify the expense of using butter instead of shortening to make pie crust? I want my special ed class to have the experience and measuring practice from making apple pie totally from scratch but I am on a budget for the year. I'm trying to do more "from scratch" cooking with them this year since we have a "real" stove instead of a hot plate & toaster oven.

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:15 AM   #2
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I'm just a casual baker, in my opinion shortening is fine.
Personally I don't taste or see any difference in the crust either way.
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:35 AM   #3
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My mother always used shortening for her pastry and I have yet to find anyone who can make pastry like hers.

I must admit I seem to use butter in the pastry for desserts but shortening for meat/savoury pastry dishes. I don't know why though
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:38 AM   #4
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To Me (personally), butter makes a very Strongly flavoerd crust that is best for fruit tarts or pot pies..

for usual pies, I like shortning..

it works well for technich.. here in Tx. we also often use Lard as it is very inexpensive..

Eric, Austin Tx.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:34 AM   #5
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I use my grandmother's recipe--1/4 c lard, 1/4 c Crisco, 1-1/2 c AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 4-5 T ice water, 1 T vinegar and I've started to add 1 tsp vodka. I've made it with wholewheat flour--since adding the vodka to the recipe, even the ww crust is light and flaky. Who knew--picked up this tip from the LCBO Food and Drink magazine. Anyway, my crust is always light, flaky, and easy to roll. An easy-peasy recipe, works every time for me.

The above makes 2 crusts. You cut the flour and salt into the shortening until it looks like "peas." Then you add the water (I usually start with 4 T--I put the water in the freezer 30 min before I make the crust with ice cubes in the glass), add the vinegar and vodka.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322
I use my grandmother's recipe--1/4 c lard, 1/4 c Crisco, 1-1/2 c AP flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 4-5 T ice water, 1 T vinegar and I've started to add 1 tsp vodka. I've made it with wholewheat flour--since adding the vodka to the recipe, even the ww crust is light and flaky. Who knew--picked up this tip from the LCBO Food and Drink magazine. Anyway, my crust is always light, flaky, and easy to roll. An easy-peasy recipe, works every time for me.

The above makes 2 crusts. You cut the flour and salt into the shortening until it looks like "peas." Then you add the water (I usually start with 4 T--I put the water in the freezer 30 min before I make the crust with ice cubes in the glass), add the vinegar and vodka.
Sounds like a good recipe, especially the ww, but I might get in trouble with the vodka at school.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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I'm a crisco fan for pie crust, But just this past weekend went to make a couple of apple pie and realize I didn't get a new can of crisco when I got groceries, I only had a little left in the can so I did 1/2 and 1/2. The results were not as flaky as just using crisco but the flavor was a little richer tasting but not a big taste difference. I will still use my crisco, but at least in a pinch I could use butter. I read in american test kitchen site that if you put alittle vodka in your pie crust your crust will be flaky. I haven't tried that yet.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:56 AM   #8
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Either will make a nice crust.

Butter results in a more flaky crust while shortening results in a more tender crust.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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What Andy said! Butter has more water therefore a slightly less tender crust. I have no issues using all shortening, that's what my mom always did. Myself, I usually use 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letscook View Post
I'm a crisco fan for pie crust, But just this past weekend went to make a couple of apple pie and realize I didn't get a new can of crisco when I got groceries, I only had a little left in the can so I did 1/2 and 1/2. The results were not as flaky as just using crisco but the flavor was a little richer tasting but not a big taste difference. I will still use my crisco, but at least in a pinch I could use butter. I read in american test kitchen site that if you put alittle vodka in your pie crust your crust will be flaky. I haven't tried that yet.
The vodka is there to replace some water. Alcohol doesn't activate gluten so with a water/vodka mixture you can add a lot more liquid to your dough to make it easy to roll without creating much gluten. Vodka is used because it has no real flavor. In an apple pie, you could use Applejack or something similar, I think Alton Brown has a recipe like that.

I have started going with a mixture of vodka and water in my crusts and it works well, I have the cookbook with the Cook's Illustrated recipe, but I like my adapted recipe better.
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