Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jul 16, 2012 08:50 AM

Tell me, what utensil do YOU use to cut shortening into pie dough?

I made up some pie dough yesterday for the first time in many many years. I think I had a mental block about my ability to make it, even though I have been baking competently for 40 some years.
To cut in the shortening, I started out using a nice heavy pastry blender, then switched to my 'granny fork'.
What do the pros use? They make it look so easy on TV, but I don't recall what tool they use there to cut in the cold butter or shortening. I'm thinking about those ladies in the kitchens of diners or restaurants on the travel shows or DDD. They whip out a pie crust like it's nothing, and do scores of them each day.
What do you, yourself use? I'd do it more, if I felt that I was doing it efficiently.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: acgold7

      Ditto. The trick I learned is to cut the butter into small cubes and put in the freezer for a bit. Then toss it with a little flour before adding to the FP so they don't stick together.

      1. re: acgold7

        The same, it is the best thing the appliance does.

      2. Cut the shortening with two knives from your flatware set. Then blend it with your fingers. It would be quicker with the Cuisinart, but I think my way makes a more tender crust.

        1. Used to use two table knives, now I mostly use wire pastry blender

          1. Paddle attachment for the kitchen aid or if doing it by hand use a bench scraper to chop in the fat then smear the remaing pea sized dough clumps and flour onto the table in hand fulls and scrape into bowl. This is how they teach it at the French Culinary Institute in NYC, now the ICC.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gotsmack

              A whisk! Instead of whipping as you normally would with a whisk, sort of jab it into the shortening and flour several times, hit it against the side of the bowl to release what's trapped and repeat until you have what you need. I also use this method to chop eggs for egg salad. My husband the professional chef taught me this trick years ago and I haven't looked back.

            2. i tried using 2 dinner knives and found it to be a challenge. probably because I don't do it much. I spent $3 on a pastry blender. I will use it if I make scones again, and to cut up hard boiled eggs for egg salad.