Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 9, 2010 02:46 PM

Subbing for shortening in a pie crust

I'm planning on making the CI vodka pie crust for a pecan pie and it calls for part butter and part shortening. I can't get shortening where I am, so can I just use all butter for the recipe? Is it an equal trade or would I have to adjust the amount? Thanks!

(Also, if anyone has any good classic pecan pie recipes I'd appreciate them too!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Of course you can, and it would be an equal amount. Although the butter/shortening mix leads to a slightly better crust, In my opinion, if shortening is not available to you, feel free to use all butter. Many posters here swear by all an butter crust.

      There have been many older posts on this subject, do a search for more information on it, if you feel it's necessary. There are a number of recent pecan pie recipe threads as well, do a search for those also.

      1. You could use half butter and half lard, which is how I make pie crust.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sam D.

          Not to speak for the OP, but I believe he/she is located in Japan; beyond vegetable shortening, I don't know how available lard is there either. Good call though, lard + butter = the best crust ever.

          1. re: Sam D.

            Yep, I'm in Japan, and if there is shortening or a similar product I'm not sure where to find it or what it's called. All I can find in the grocery store is butter and margarine. Thank you for your help, though!

            1. re: Japanecdote

              Butter is fine, don't worry about it. Shortening is hydrogenated vegetable shortening, Crisco is the most popular brand in the US, and now non-hydrogentated varieties are available. Do not use margarine at all costs.

              Lard is rendered pork fat, is that at all available in Japan?

              1. re: Japanecdote

                I don't know if you've already checked, but if your grocery store had shortening, it would be located next to the oils. Probably the most widely known brand in the U.S. is Crisco. It comes in a tub or in sticks.
                The CI vodka pie crust is my favorite. If you've never made pecan pie before, and have Karo syrup available to you, the recipe on the back of the bottle is pretty foolproof. They also have the recipe on their website.

                1. re: Japanecdote

                  Palm or coconut oil? Any fat that is semisolid around body temperature.

                  1. re: paulj

                    +1 on the tropical oils (though I'm aware that the OP has already found an alternative).

                    I'd imagine that watching out for salted butter might be a good idea. Also, mightn't all butter brown faster than butter + shortening? I am obviously not a baking expert, so this is a guess.

              2. CI recipes are so diddly I don't know that butter would work well. If you have access to high quality lard it would be a better sub. Instead I'd choose an all butter pie crusts which is much tastier anyway. Shortening tastes like transfer nastiness. Give me an honest fat anyway.

                1. Thanks for all the replies, everybody! I actually ended up finding lard at the grocery store (in a squeeze bottle, eeeeeew), so I used that. I also don't have a food processor, so I attempted to do it with a hand mixer. There was flour and bits of butter eeeeeeeverywhere around my kitchen!

                  As I was mixing it didn't form a dough, so I had to kind of smush it together myself. When I added the water/vodka mixture it didn't want to absorb, it just kind of sat there and made the dough slimy. I mushed in as much as I could and just called it a night.

                  So I made the pie today, and rolling out the half of the dough (perfect size for a deep-dish pie pan) was a pain. There was a lot of cracking and it didn't want to stay in one piece. BUT with all that over I eventually did get it in the pie pan, filled it with filling, and baked it. It's cooling now and I'll be bringing it to a dinner party tonight, so hopefully it's good! Looks pretty good, anyway...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Japanecdote

                    The best alternative to a food processor is to do it by hand, using a pastry blender or two table knives to cut the butter into the flour (literally keep cutting the cold butter into smaller pieces as it mixes with the flour in a bowl, until it is the size recipe indicates), then use a fork to incorporate the liquid. When you combine the butter and flour, it should create a mealy texture; you're not trying to create a uniform dough at that step. Adding the liquid allows you to bring it all together into a dough. After you smushed it together into a more solid mass, the amalgam couldn't absorb the liquid.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Thanks for your help! I'll definitely just use try the knife method next time.

                      It ended up tasting delicious, though, very buttery!