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alternative to crisco shortening for pie crust

  • s

Anyone know of an alternative to Crisco (and the partially hydrogenated fats it contains)-: that can be used to make a nice flaky pie crust?

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  1. In the Wednesday food edition of the NYT, there was an extensive article about pie crust, Crisco, leaf lard, butter, and suet. You should probably look it up. I think Crisco was low on her list of good crusts.

    I've never made pie crust with anything but butter so I'm no help.

    1. Lard or butter, not too many options. Some people like oil crusts, I don't.

      Crisco has had a non-trans-fat version out for some time, now, too.

      1. Leaf Lard! No trans-fat and less saturated fat than butter. I do 2/3 butter to 1/3 leaf lard for sweet pastry. All lard for savory. You can't find a flakier crust either. I buy mine from Deitrich's.

        1. i know crisco is easier to work with, but i've never been able to tolerate the coating in my mouth when i eat baked goods that use it. i prefer all butter, but confess i haven't experimented with leaf lard. that ny times article was illuminating. and tempting!

          1. Used a combo of leaf lard and plugra (high fat) butter on my crusts yesterday (1/3 leaf lard). They were so much more flavorful than other crusts I've tried -- and still flaky!

            1. Coconut oil (which is the same consistency as Crisco) is a perfect alternative. It contains 0 trans fats. Be sure to buy organic non-hydrogenated coconut oil (at Whole Foods and other natural foods stores). Do not refrigerate before using - it becomes rock hard under refrigeration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: FlavoursGal

                How expensive is the coconut oil and what's the shelf life like?

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  It's not cheap, but I can't recall exactly. It has an indefinite shelf life.

              2. Found mention of this crisco alternative but havent tried, I bake a lot so I will be looking for it soon.
                Spectrum Organic Shortening, solid at room temp and made from palm oil.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Elsie

                  my wife uses this in her baking for green grocers that don't allow crisco due to the trans fats. works great. in my wife's opinion, it outperforms crisco. she buys in bulk (30 lbs at a time), and it's reasonably priced in volume; don't know about smaller quantities. i've seen it at most of the green stores in my area.

                2. I used a combination of butter and Earth Balance brand shortening for my pies at Thanksgiving and the crusts came out great.

                  I found it at a local chain, but they probably carry it at whole foods/wild oats, etc. if not your regular grocer.

                  1. Try 50/50 non-transfat Crisco and butter. You get the flavor of the butter and the flakiness of the shortening. I usually cube and freeze the Crisco before using.

                    1. Don't forget that in the supposed trade off with those "bad" trans-fats, you're getting more SATURATED fats, which were the bad guys in the 80s and 90s, supposedly causing all manner of havoc in people's arteries. The scientists are making us crazy, folks. I guess all I'm saying is quit thinking of "good" foods and "bad" foods. Eat in moderation. You're not eating pie every day (I *HOPE*!!), and you're not eating Crisco every day (again, I *HOPE*!). So use the ingredient that gives you the result you want. OR, quit caring about how your food tastes and looks, and stop using your brain to think about what you're doing, read the paper every day to figure out what the new "bad" food is - because it changes nearly every week - and cook/eat accordingly.

                      I think you can see that the answer is - Eat a wide variety of food. You cook what tastes good to you. When a pie occasion comes along, you bake what tastes the best to you. And most of all, you quit worrying about your food so much. This is the Home Cooking board. You have the power to vary your diet as need be, fix rich and fattening things, and then turn around and do wonderful light and low-fat things, each and every day. And if you're not doing that already, you really need to rethink how and why you're eating food and cooking it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: k_d

                        Crisco was originally developed as a cheaper substitute for animal fats in making candles. It was mistakenly presumed to be safe for human consumption and sold as a substitute for lard.

                        More facts on artificial trans fats:


                        1. I'm in the butter camp as far as what works best for pie crusts. I still will make a Crisco crust from time to time (it tastes like home - it's what I grew up with), but I mostly use the Pat-in-the-Pan crust from the 1997 version of Joy of Cooking - never had a complaint! (But then it was me eating most of it, so...) I tried oil in crusts before, but could not get anything but a tough and tasteless crust.

                          1. From my cookbook, "Cooking Healthy with BCV's Shortcuts", Basic Pie Crust - One Crust (double for 2)

                            1 1/2 cup Flour (1/2 Whole Wheat, 1/2 White). Place in bowl.
                            1/2 tsp Salt add to bowl.
                            1/3 cup Vegetable Oil (Light Olive, Canola, Safflower) Add
                            1/4 cup COLD Water Add and mix well.
                            One 10" Basic Pie Crust using Safflower Oil:
                            Calories (for total pie shell) 1288, Protein 22 G, Carbohydrates 137 G, Fiber 13.9 G, Fat-Total 75.2 G (Fat-Saturated 7.03 G), Cholesterol 0 Mg, Sodium 1074 Mg
                            [Saturated fat will depend on oil used.]

                            Knead dough, make it into a ball then roll between two sheets of wax paper so it can be transferred to pie plate.

                            If you need a pie crust for a pudding, fruit, custard pie, etc., bake empty shell at 400 for 5-10 min.
                            Enjoy! "The Cooking Healthy Lady" Phyllis