Fat for shortcrust pastry?

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Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby sueturnersmith » December 2nd, 2010, 10:02 pm

What fat do you use for shortcrust pastry?

I have been using a 50/50 mix of lard and butter, but whereas lard is still cheap, butter prices have gone through the roof :evil:

Does anyone have a tasty but economical alternative? I mostly make a savoury pastry for meat pies.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby cheshire-cheese » December 2nd, 2010, 10:44 pm

For simplicity I use all butter because I've always got butter. Some day I'll try using lard as well.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Suelle » December 2nd, 2010, 11:10 pm

Is it really so expensive that you need a cheaper alternative?

If you're using 50% butter, 50% lard, and making pastry with 400g flour, 100g lard and 100g butter, then the butter is costing less than 50p and the other ingredients even less. So you've made a wodge of pastry for less than £1 - doesn't seem expensive to me.

One alternative you could try, especially for savoury dishes, is suet crust pastry - Atora suet is 65p for 200g at Tesco.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby frenchcheesequeen » December 2nd, 2010, 11:11 pm

I don't think there is a really palatable alternative to half lard half butter. The butter for flavour and the lard for texture. All lard is very short (I tried it when desperately poor last year) and although the texture is lovely it was very greasy and the flavour not up to much. It might be worth trying one of the hard margarines - the very best bannoffee pie I ever tasted was made by someone who used a shortcrust base and it was made with Blue Band. This was some years ago - not sure if you can still buy Blue Band.

For savoury pie crust pastry I used the dripping bowl contents - quite successful in terms of both flavour and texture. But the dripping bowl only contained pork dripping - I could not afford beef or lamb.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby ianinfrance » December 2nd, 2010, 11:15 pm

sueturnersmith wrote:What fat do you use for shortcrust pastry?

I have been using a 50/50 mix of lard and butter, but whereas lard is still cheap, butter prices have gone through the roof :evil:

Does anyone have a tasty but economical alternative? I mostly make a savoury pastry for meat pies.
Not really the answer you want to read, but we always use 1/4 lard 3/4 butter.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby earthmaiden » December 3rd, 2010, 12:23 am

I find lard or white vegetable fat such as Cookeen or White Flora equally good and Flora (normal, not light) not a bad substitute for butter. Most supermarkets do cheap butter as well as the more expensive which is acceptable for cooking.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby spotteddick » December 3rd, 2010, 7:55 am

You could always go to Aldi or Lidl, I know here in Germany that the butter I buy from Aldi is from Ireland and is called Greenfields, it is about half the price of Kerry Gold, As I only cook with it, I don't know what it is like on bread, but I cannot tell the difference in my stollen or pastry.

I am aslo sure that places like ASDA will also have "own make" butter at less than the well known (expensive) brands.

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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby suffolk » December 3rd, 2010, 8:50 am

I use 'own brand' unsalted butter for cooking. 1/2 and 1/2 butter and lard for ordinary shortcrust.
I have used hard margarine in the past when hard up, Echo or Sainsbugs own brand. It's ok but flavour's a bit poor and I feel that the pastry is a bit tough, probably due to water content.
I did try using Trex hard veg fat for making pastry - it's ok but without any butter the flavour's poor, and knowing what I know now about hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats, I wouldn't use it now.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby jenny » December 3rd, 2010, 10:56 am

Sainsbury's basics butter tastes the same as the normal one or branded butter in cooking to me. I don't eat any on bread so don't know about uncooked. It's just under £1 a 250g packet. It's supposed to come in salted and unsalted but I've never seen the unsalted. My gran always taught me to use salted in any pastry though so I just use the salted one. Having said that, it's only ~15p a pack cheaper than regular butter so the butter will still be the biggest cost in the pastry.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby AnnieFrance » December 3rd, 2010, 1:39 pm

I use all butter. It's a habit.

My mother always used all lard, again habit I think. The pastry on her meat and potato pie was to die for.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Foodycat » December 4th, 2010, 4:46 pm

I've just made flaky pastry for the first time using all lard. It looks wonderful! Haven't tasted it yet though.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby miss mouse » December 4th, 2010, 6:22 pm

I usually use all butter but recently half butter and lard. My neighbour makes wonderful all lard pastry, it was less wonderful when I did it that way.

I actively avoid the solid vegetable fats and margarines and 'mucked-about with' spreads.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby frenchcheesequeen » December 5th, 2010, 4:09 pm

I have just returned from Tesco and they are selling Lurpak at two x 250g packs for £2. An absolute bargain. The ordinary cheapest butter is 98p so for 2p I'm on the Lurpak for a bit.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby spotteddick » December 6th, 2010, 8:15 am

The ordinary cheapest butter is 98p so for 2p I'm on the Lurpak for a bit.


Luckchory lass, pewor luckchory, but there is nowt rang wi drip on yer bread. Now when I was a lad :lol:

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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby jenny » December 6th, 2010, 11:55 am

I did a huge batch of pastry with 50/50 lard and basics butter on Saturday. I decided that I wouldn't use the rest of the packet of lard before Christmas so I made enough pastry to use up the entire packet. 4 dozen mince pies and a sandwich tin sized mince and apple pie later, I managed to switch the oven off. It's the best pastry I've ever made and the mince pies are so light and crumbly. Unfortunately, I just automatically made 50/50 pastry forgetting that many of the pies are destined for work and aren't suitable for vegetarians. More pies for me 8-)
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby 4dogsagain » December 6th, 2010, 12:07 pm

miss mouse wrote:I actively avoid the solid vegetable fats and margarines and 'mucked-about with' spreads.


So do I! Knowing what goes into them is enough to put you off. I make pastry with butter. In fact, all for all my baking I use butter, for the reason that it is a natural product with no artificial ingredients, and also, it tastes so good.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby AZCook » December 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

I always use butter for proper shortcrust pastry/pate brisee - it's just the simplest, best tasting IMO. But it can be a bit too rich sometimes, I find. A very nice alternative pastry is olive oil pastry.

This one from Chocolate & Zucchini is very good and I can recommend it - I don't add herbs, just plain, and you can use plain flour or a mixture of plain and wholewheat if wanted.

Olive Oil Tart Crust
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archive ... _crust.php

Basically 250 grams flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 60 ml olive oil (or oil of choice), 120 ml cold water
Place dry stufff in bowl/procesor, add oil & mix, add water, form dough, chill.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Lokelani » December 11th, 2010, 10:20 am

There are a lot of offers on butter at the moment, so it might be worth looking in whatever supermarket you use.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Annie » December 11th, 2010, 11:02 am

For shortcrust I was brought up to make it 50/50 lard to Stork. In later years I made it 50/50 lard to butter.

Always use shops own slightly salted butter prefer it to the unsalted but add little/no extra salt.

Personally for the small amounts I prefer to stick with the butter even on my tiny income however as i have to buy a block every now and agan to do this I do cut it into 50g pieces and freeze so I don't just use it up in the kitchen. Then when I need it for something I can get out as much as I want.
I do use a lighter spreadable butter for everyday use as little as it is, so this isn't that expensive either and there are times when just no alternatives will do.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Sue S » December 19th, 2010, 11:14 am

suffolk wrote:I did try using Trex hard veg fat for making pastry - it's ok but without any butter the flavour's poor, and knowing what I know now about hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans fats, I wouldn't use it now.


My mother always used Trex and on the rare occasions I made pastry I used it too. Inspired by this thread and my new Kenwood Chef (an early Christmas present) I made an apple pie last night using half butter, half lard. The pastry was really nice and stayed crisp even in a ceramic flan dish. I am a recent convert to baking parchment and rolled out the pastry on a sheet - it was so much easier to move about and needed very little flour to prevent it sticking - why didn't I think of that before? Doh! :D
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby StokeySue » December 20th, 2010, 9:07 pm

I tend to use buttter - I make pastry for company, and I have too many veggies/non-pork eaters around to use lard, can't be bothered to get Trex or Flora specially, so use butter that I have in the house (I buy butter on special offer & freeze)

I've taken to rolling out pastry on my silicone mat - works wonderfully - useful thing, currently in the freezer with lardons open freezing on it.

Incidentally - Trex, Cookeen & Flora White are all free of hydrogenated fat, so using them wouldn't worry me
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby frenchcheesequeen » December 20th, 2010, 9:58 pm

I have a serious baking parchment habit and use it for just about everything. But I had never, ever, thought about rolling pastry on it.

We were supposed to be going to a party tomorrow night which needed two dozen of my mince pies in orange pastry but the party has been postponed to Epihany. I shall now make a Galletes des Rois instead and use baking parchment from the beginning.

Thank you - there are so many clever people on this board who inspire me.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby YellowPea » December 20th, 2010, 10:03 pm

Here's another vote for the 50:50 butter to lard. I buy butter primarily for baking (rarely eat bread and when I do, I find that it doesn't need any butter or marg on it) and I buy it from Aldi or Lidl; it recently went up to 95 cents for 250g.

I think that if the price of butter is getting to be a nuisance, they maybe the best option would be to avoid the traditional concept of shortcrust pastry and make an alternative crust. The Olive Oil tart crust that AZ suggested sounds like a good suggestion. Also, if you're making pasties for example, then using a bread dough as the casing makes for a good alternative. For meat pies, a suet topping like the Teviotdale pie can be nice. I know someone who freezes butter very successfully so maybe you could stock up whenever you see any that is reduced to clear.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby sueturnersmith » December 20th, 2010, 10:05 pm

I shall be making some of FCQ's famous mince pies in orange pastry on Christmas Eve - they are delicious!
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby frenchcheesequeen » December 20th, 2010, 10:09 pm

Dotta called on Saturday on her way to drop the children off for a pre-Christmas custody visit and told me that she had run out of mincemeat. Apparently it is not available to buy in shops! I only had one large jar left (which I think you left by mistake Sue when I gave it to you) so I told her I needed it for the party tomorrow.

She is picking the girls up on Thursday and I will pass it over to her. Three years is too long to keep it. I will make some more for when you come up in January and this time remember to take it.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby sueturnersmith » December 20th, 2010, 11:16 pm

frenchcheesequeen wrote:I will make some more for when you come up in January and this time remember to take it.


I will try Carol, but my memory is sometimes like a sieve! ;)

But I did manage to get some Tescos finest mincemeat last week :)
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby Annie » December 21st, 2010, 7:53 am

I had no mincemeat left but picked u a cheap jar from Tescos and some extra bits to add to it.

Will be making more mincepies today - and I thought I'd made enough but they disappeared at the weekend with a housefull of students :lol: .

I've not made the traditional ones I usually make with orange in the pastry but used filo - thinking of the Shrinking Waistline. I used three layers of filo with a spray of 1 cal (it needs something between the layers) a fine sprinkling of cinnamon and orange zest and did think about some finely chopped nuts and then thought it was just too much.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby StokeySue » December 21st, 2010, 11:32 am

I have been making mince pies with orange pastry too (mine is all butter, as I can't feed lard to the team at work)

Two batches for different offices so far and final batch to be made tomorrow for Christmas - one lattice tart (if I can find the little quiche dish to cook it in) and some littl'uns with star tops.

I didn't get round to making mincemeat this year, so I bought some of Morrison's "The Best" and added a little orange zest and some rum. It is just the kind of mincemeat I like - plenty of vine fruits and no additions like pineapple or apricots, which just aren't to my taste. I don't even really like cherrirs in there. I may not bother to make it again now I've found a brand I like!
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby capricornbcaroline » December 21st, 2010, 2:14 pm

Sue, I like the sound of orange pastry - do you have the recipe memorised by any chance?
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby StokeySue » December 21st, 2010, 2:26 pm

It is FCQs recipe

200g plain flour
100g fat (I used all butter, she used 50/50 lard & butter)
zest and juice of one orange
2 TBS icing sugar

Blitz flour, cold cubed fat(s) and zest in food processor until fine crumbs. Add sugar and pulse to mix. Add orange juice with processor running until dough forms a ball as usual ( I found I needed a little more juice than that of the initial orange, which may be because I couldn't find my squeezer, and squeezed by hand)

Chill in fridge at least 1 hour before using.

Lovely crisp pastry - everyone has liked it, the orange flavour is quite subtle and it colours nicely when baked.
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Re: Fat for shortcrust pastry?

Postby capricornbcaroline » December 21st, 2010, 2:29 pm

Oh thank you so much - that's wonderful. Off to make them now. Happy Christmas
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