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for trans-fat free baking pie crust

I usually make the pie crust from Joy of Baking which recommends half butter, half (semi-solid) shortening to keep it flaky. I;ve used Crisco for the latter which I now want to avoid. I know that there is a Trans-fat free Crisco now but it has got bad reports previously on this board, and we don't seem to get it in Canada. I've been reluctant to buy ready-made pie crusts for the same reason.

What would people recommend instead of the usual shortening with trans fats?

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  1. Tenderflake lard is now non-hydrogenated, although apparently their premade pastry products may still contain trans fats.


    I haven't ever baked with lard or shortening so I can't vouch for the results in your recipe.

    1. Leaf lard (the refrigerated kind, not the hydrogenated shelf-stable kind), or go to an-all butter crust.

      1. There's always butter and lard.

        1. Whole Foods has a no trans-fat solid shortening made by EarthSource? EarthBalance? EarthSomething, anyways. It's in a green box and comes in .25lb sticks. It makes a pretty good pie crust and is quite easy to work with.

          1. I've been using coconut oil, which is the same consistency as Crisco. No trans fats, but it is high in saturated fats, which new reports claim are actually healthy for you because they're not animal-based (or something to this effect).

            Whole Foods carries coconut oil, but you'll find it cheaper at natural foods or health food stores (be sure to buy organic, extra virgin coconut oil, not the processed hydrogenated stuff).

            And don't refrigerate it - I made that mistake the first time, and it turned rock hard. The pie crusts come out great, with a hint of coconut flavour.

            2 Replies
            1. re: FlavoursGal

              I've had good results with both all natural coconut oil and 50-50 coconut and butter.

              The health claims regard medium-chain saturated fats vs. the long-chain saturated fats in lard and butter, but unfortunately the studies published to date have all been sponsored by coconut-oil producers and governments of coconut-oil exporting countries.

              It's a fact that Thais, who consume lots of coconut oil, have relatively low incidence of heart disease.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                And much of the talk about the evils of tropical fats apparently was sponsored by the temperate seed oil producers (soy, cotton, etc).

                I just made a crust using Spectrum, labeled as an organic palm oil from 'small producers' in Columbia. I was quite happy with the result. While it didn't have any butter flavor, it was easy to make, and quite flaky.


              1. re: C. Hamster

                All butter and for a 2 crust pie add 1/4 tsp. baking powder. It helps with the flakiness. Butter does not do flaky well which is why many crusts combine butter with another fat. I prefer the all butter crust and find it very simple to work with.

                1. re: Candy

                  This is how I make my crust, and it always goes over well. As far as 99% of people I know, despite their vocalization of their love for flaky pie crusts, they still love this shortbread-style crust, and no one has ever complained that it "just isn't pie" without the flakiness.

              2. A pie crust made with all butter will be very tender, but you will lose the flaky aspects that many people associate with a good pie crust. I would suggest that you use 1/2 butter-lard. I use the trans-fat free Crisco is most of my baking and I don't notice a problem with the taste and neither have my customers.
                If you choose to go the all butter route, add the butter in 2 bathes. Cut approx 1/2 of the butter in to begin with, and then freeze the rest till rock hard and add it at the last minute and be very careful not to over mix. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours and work it on a chilled stone board to preserve the flaky texture of the secondary butter addition.

                Lard is the best, but it may be hard to find in some locations.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Thanks a lot - I will experiment with the different options and let people know how they emerge.

                2. Here's the list of ingredients in the new Crisco trans-free shortening. Could some of you folks who know your palm/coconut oils take a look and report back on health studies of "fully hydrogenated palm oil", palmitic acid, full hydrogenation, coconut vs palm, etc? It would be nice to hear that it's okay, as it would represent a very positive step from the shortening industry.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FoodFuser

                    Fully-hydrogenated oil is an unknown. As about.com's nutrition expert says, "It *should* be healthier than regular shortening, but at one time we were sure that regular margarine was healthier than butter ..."

                  2. It is also possible to make a crust with oil (the liquid stuff). I think there was thread about oil crusts not too long ago, with some claiming good results,


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      In my experience they can be tasty, but are crumbly rather than flaky. Unless you're talking about coconut oil, which is a natural alternative to Crisco.


                    2. I prefer my all butter crust. Shortbread consistency. Handle as little as possible, get everything as cold as possible. Use as little (ice)water as possible. It is delicious on its own, unlike most pie crusts - would you want to just eat them on their own? No. But as a component of a pie or crisp an all butter crust is heavenly. My favorite uses: pecan or walnut pie sweetened with honey or bottom of apple crisp, with streusel crumbs on top.

                      1. Hi! Can anyone give me a recipe for a pie crust made with coconut oil? I need to do an egg free, soy free, dairy free pie crust for Thanksgiving and I plan on using coconut oil in place of the butter or shortening, but I can't find a recipe. Thanks so much!

                        1. Here's the recipe from Crisco's website that I use with coconut oil instead of Crisco.


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: FlavoursGal

                            Thanks so much! Do you do a straight subsitution or do you use a little more or less of the coconut oil? Thanks again!!

                            1. re: merjess

                              Coconut oil is shortening. You can use it in any pastry recipe that calls for shortening or Crisco, no adjustment needed.

                              1. re: merjess

                                Just substitute one-for-one. Just to let you know, the coconut oil does impart a slight coconut-y flavour to the pie crust, which I happen to love.

                            2. There was a huge article in the NYT last Wednesday about different kinds of shortening for pie crusts. The author tried everything from Crisco to leaf lard and even beef suet.

                              Very informative and interesting.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: oakjoan

                                yeah, that article was pretty nice. i think the real final outcome was that all butter is pretty much the best way to go. i mean, the flavor is just going to blow everything else away. think for a minute about butter and the ways in which we use it. spread on bread, sauteing medium, etc. most of us all love the flavor of butter already so go for it. now think about oil, of any kind. most times we use it not for that oil's flavor, but rather as ONLY the transfer of heat (olive oil i guess being the only real exception). butter butter butter:)

                                1. re: ben61820

                                  I saute only with oils that have good flavor.

                                  1. re: ben61820

                                    Actually, that's not what she says. She found a 30/70 split between animal fat (ideally leaf lard) and high fat european style butter to be preferable, although she has nice things to say about all butter crusts too.

                                2. Thanks so much for the help everyone! I have a three month old son who has milk protein and soy allergies and as I am nursing him, I have had to cut out all soy, dairy, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, etc. from my diet. Not so easy when you are a foodie like me!! I have been trying to find tons of recipes where I can substitute things and still be satisfied. Have a happy holiday!