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Old 02-02-2012, 08:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
I've continued to think about this topic and I'm wondering if I understand your question at all. I've focused on your idea to use cocoa butter... But what really is the question?

I've read enough of your posts to believe you make perfect pie crusts. Most people would be happy enough to reach that level of expertise.

You've mentioned health concerns. You never said what fats you use in your perfect pie crust. Are you trying to make the same perfect pie crust but replace an unhealthy fat with a healthier fat?

You mentioned a desire to not have to chill water etc. Are you simply looking for a way to make a perfect crust without needing to take temperature into account?

I don't understand what we're trying to accomplish here.
I'm trying to blend lard and another solid fat in order to create both a higher temperature stable fat, and reduce the negative affects of cholesterol producing fat per volume. So the end result would be to be able to use the fat without the fuss about chilling all of the ingredients, and have a healthier fat to work with.

I find lard far superior to butter as a baking fat where tender, flaky pastry is the goal. Lard will allow pastry to set its shape better than butter, and has no water content, where butter does. Butter melts at a lower temperature than does lard, which is why products like puff pastry require constant chilling to create the layers of the end product. In addition, lard produces less cholesterol than does butter, per unit volume.

I have also heard that palm oil has similar propeties to cocal butter. It might be a less expensive product to achieve the results that I hope to get in the blended fat experiment. I have no experience using either cocao butter, or palm oil.

Looking into fats is a new item of research for me. I am admittedly, in fat 101 class. I greatly appreciate your input. It has already given me much to think about, and a lot more information than I had.

Oh, and I chose the name - Chief Longwind of the North - as a way of poking a little fun at myself. It helps remind me to cut back on the verbage (yes i can get longwinded), and helps keep me humble, and not take myself too seriously. I've occasionally let my ego get in my own way at some points in my life (I was the skinny kid who tried to overcompensate for being small by bragging and other counter-productive behaviors as a child). Though successes in my adult life have eliminated the need to overcompensate (I am very comfortable with who I am now), old habits never really go away. Rather, they are simply controlled. So I don't mind being called Longwind. Besides, the name was given to me by a friend, and that gives it value.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 02-02-2012, 12:11 PM   #22
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Now, I have my pie crusts down. They come out so light, tender, and flaky ...... seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Now, I have seen cocoa on Amazon, but how about sharing the recipe for the pie crust here? Or is it a secret? Please.
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:39 PM   #23
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Perfect pie crust:
Ingredients must be no warmer than 70'F. Water must be ice water.

*3 cups all purpose flour
*1 1/2 tsp. salt
*Lard ( I think its abot 1 cup, but I don't measure it as you will see in the instructions)
*3 tbs. ice water

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup lard and cut in with two butter knives or pastry dough cutter. Cut the lard in by sliding the blades across teh flour and lard until all of the lard is blended in. There should be lots of flour that isn't mixed with teh lard still in the bowl. Add a heaping tbs. of lard and cut it in. Continue doing this until the bowl is bowl of pea-gravel pieces of dough.

You don't have to worry about overmixing the flour as gluten won't develop intil the water is added.

Sprinkle the ice water all over the dough. Stir until a dough ball forms. Divide the ball into two equal pieces. Liberally flour a working surface and press the dough ball into a slightly flattened shape between your hands. Place onto the working surface and sprinkle more flour on top to the dough. Roll from the center to the edge in every direction to form a thin circle, about 14 to 15 inches in diameter. Slide a spatula under the pie crust to loosen from the table. Place an inverted pie pan onto the dough and cut a smooth circle, about two inches wider than the pie pan. REmove the pie pan and fold the dough in half, then in half again to forn\m a wedge shape. Place the pointed edge of the web onto the pan, with the circular edge on the rim of the pan. Unfold to fill the pan. Gently press the dough down into the pan. If using this crust for a juicy filling, brush it with egg wash and place it into a 400 degree oven for 5 mintutes to set the egg. This will form a barier to keep the bottom crust flaky and light.

Make the top crust the same way as you made the bottom crust. Your filling into teh bottom crust and put the top crust on top, again by folding, then unfolding the crust. Trim the top crust so that it is an inch wider than the pir rim. Fold the top crust edges between the bottom crust and pie pan sides. Pinch and flute the pie crust edges with your fore-fingers and thumbs. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, and cinnamon if its flavor will compliment the filling. Bake at 400 'F. for 45 mintues to ahn hour, depending on how thick the crust is.

Let cool adn serve, or cut it hot and serve with ice cream.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 02-02-2012, 01:51 PM   #24
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I always brush my top crust with an egg wash, and sprinkle with raw sugar. I then brush it again halfway through the baking process. It gives the crust a nice shine and it bakes at an even color. The sugar gives it sparkle.

When I am making a pie, I place the bottom crust in the pan and brush with the egg wash. I then let it air dry while I get the filling ready.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:06 PM   #25
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Thanks for the comments Longwind. I had pretty much guessed the rationale for your moniker. I can identify with that since I too sometimes suffer from longwindedness. I always keep trying to improve my posting style, currently a work in progress.

I'll be interested in hearing further on your experiments. I'd love to try some of my own, particularly I'd like to experiment with coconut oil and palm oil (both of them almost fats since they both melt around room temperature). I'd like to compare them to lard, and to vegetable shortening. Unfortunately my temporary living quarters feature a very small oven with very poor temperature control and I'm not going to be baking anything until I move to my next residence.

By the way I make my pie crust practically the same as yours. As far as I know that's the classic method and there's good reasons it's a classic.


Here's some Wikipedia links for those who want to understand more about oils and fats:

triglyceride (note diagram at top right)
glycerol
fatty acid
double bond
saturated fat
unsaturated fat
monounsaturated fat
polyunsaturated fat
cis fat
trans fat
hydrogenation
essential fatty acid
omega 3 fatty acid

these are the main fatty acids in our oils and fats:
lauric acid
myristic acid
palmitic acid
stearic acid
oleic acid
linoleic acid
linolenic acid

It's more important to get an understanding for what these terms mean rather than expecting to understand the entire articles. I am just beginning to get a glimmering of how these things go together and am by no means proficient in this subject.

The subject is particularly interesting not only because oils and fats are so important to cooking, but they're vitally important to diet and health.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:31 AM   #26
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Thank you. And the question, what would be adequate substitute for lard, cannot have any animal products?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:33 AM   #27
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...
By the way I make my pie crust practically the same as yours....
what do you mean by "practically"?
what do you do different?
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:20 PM   #28
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Thank you. And the question, what would be adequate substitute for lard, cannot have any animal products?
Vegetable shortening. Or try palm oil or coconut oil if you're in an experimenting mood. Personally I think that lard works best, but I don't mind eating animals.

Quote:
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what do you mean by "practically"?
what do you do different?
I don't think about recipes in such detail. I'm not obsessive enough to compare his way and my way down to the most minute detail. I generally do mine about the same as Longwind.

Pie crust was the first thing I ever made. I was in my early teens at the time. I used to watch my mother make pies, and she'd make pie crust cookies with the excess dough. (Flatten the dough, lightly butter the top, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Cut after baking.) The pie crust cookies were such a treat that I eventually would make pie crust just for the cookies and who needs the pie? I used to do this every Sunday night when Disney came on TV. Yes it was that long ago.

I don't think about pie crust much when I'm making it. I tend to not measure ingredients either, just use whatever looks right. Flour, some salt, some lard or Crisco, ice water. I don't have or use any written recipe.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:25 PM   #29
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I vaguely remember Julia making pie crust with part lard and part butter. The butter was for flavor and the lard for flakiness. Makes sense to me.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #30
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I strictly follow a recipe, but I use whole grain, soft wheat flour. It took me a lot of trial and error to make a nice, flaky pie crust. Now I'm working on making it a little bit stronger.

I like to cut the lard into the flour with a food processor.
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