Monday, October 12, 2009

Ending the Debate: Oil Pastry vs. Cold Butter Pastry

Oil in your pastry? Are you kidding me?! No thanks...
That was my first response when I read a very old recipe for pie crust using Wesson oil.
But, after exhaustive research and my forever questings for sublime noshings...I figured I owed it to myself and my readers to at least give it a try.

The experiment:

Part 1:
I made a batch of butter/shortening pie crust in the traditional way.
Cutting the fats into the flour, sugar and salt with a pastry blender and lightly mixing in ice cold water and lemon juice until the dough was just wet enough to hold together when I pinched it, but not too wet...too wet and you'll get rubber.
The dough was then gently pressed together and wrapped up in plastic wrap and chilled.
This is the chilled dough. See the blessed little bits of butter?

Here is the recipe I used, and have used for quite a while, its very good.

~11 1/4 ounces flour
~1 T. sugar
~1 t. salt
~1 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
~1/4 c. vegetable shortening
~2 t. lemon juice
~3 oz. cold water, approx. add 1 T. at a time

We had some apples from the local orchard, so apple pie it is!

Part 2:
...the oil pastry.
excuse me, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Mix this up right before you use it, no chilling necessary.
This isn't that old recipe I mentioned before...this is my rendition.
I just couldn't make pastry without butter, so I improvised.

~2 c. flour
~1 t. salt
~1 t. sugar

mix these dry ingredients up and add:

~4 T. butter, melted
~1/4 c. oil, use a light one like canola
~1 t. vinegar
~5 T. cold water or low-fat milk (you may or may not need all of this, I think I had a tablespoon left over. The dough came together just fine and I felt it didn't need it.)

Yep, its that easy. Like a cookie dough.
I did roll it out a titch thinner than normal pie crust.
If you find it a pain to roll out, spray some non-stick spray on two sheets of wax paper and roll it between those. Then, all you have to do is peel off the top piece of paper, invert the crust, center it and place it while attached to the other piece of wax paper then peel it off. voila!

Another apple pie...made fork marks so I could remember which one is which.
I kinda suck at making pie crust pretty.

Both pies where baked at 400* for approx. 40 minutes.
These were mini pies, since I REALLY don't need two full sized pies in my kitchen.
So, for the good of mankind, I bought two pot pies so I'd have tiny pie tins.
Each held 2 apples, cut, chopped, sugared and spiced.

Here is the cold butter/shortening pie baked:

...and the melted butter/oil pastry pie baked:

Now, the final test.

The cold butter/shortening pastry pie sliced:

and the melted butter/oil pastry pie sliced:

As for the taste test, you ask?
Um...I honestly liked the oil pastry better.
It was crisp, tender and flaky.
The cold butter pastry was good, don't get me wrong. It was perfect as far as cold butter pastry goes.
But, it was not as tender, nor did it have a flake as crispy as the oil pastry.

So, after eating two pies (geez...the things I do for you people) final conclusion is that oil pastry is good, great actually, especially with the melted butter substitution. So great, in fact, that I will probably never go back to the muss and fuss of cold butter pastry.
Against all odds, physics and good sense, it was excellent.
So, throw all caution to the wind, don't mind your grammy and make up a pie with my melted butter/oil pastry recipe.
I'd love to know what you all think!


Rebecca Luke said...

Do those crust recipes make enough for a normal sized pie crust, or just the mini?

Noshings said...

hello Rebecca =)

those make enough crust for a 8" or 9" pie.
the oil pie pastry is rolled a bit thinner than a traditional crust for optimum texture.

Juli P said...

Very interesting! I myself am not a fan of the cold butter crust....I grew up with pie crust made with cold shortening and it always turns out great. I even went so far as to test Crisco vs. the Wal-Marts Great Value shortening (made with meat fat) and the difference was amazing. The meat fat shortening crust was light, flakey and wonderful. My husband was my critical tester...
The last one that I made, experimenting was using half shortening and half melted butter and it was divine! best crust, ever in my book.
I think you were on to something here! thanks! using this for thanksgiving.

Lizzy said...

I also just discovered the miracle that is an oil pastry crust. Just like you, I was very skeptical, but I ended up loving it! It's so much easier to make than a butter crust and I think it tastes better.

homesweethome said...

Do you have to chill the oil/butter pastry dough?


Kellie C.

tsemigh said...

Wow, I made a peach pie with this recipe, and it was awesome! This crust has a great texture and flakiness, and tastes absolutely wonderful. (Smells great when baking, too.) My son declared that it was "really good", several times. Definitely my new regular pie crust. Thanks lots.

Meraj said...

I know this post is from ages ago, but I stumbled across your blog just today, and made this oil pastry for a savoury pie. I really liked the way it turned out, flaky and tender, and with just enough butter taste!

favourofthaJC said...

I am a newly married gal, and have tried to get more "homemade" with meals. It helps me control what I put in the foods.

As far as recipes, My mom gave me an UBER old McCalls Cookbook. I saw the Oil Pastry recipe, and tried it. I make pasta dough, and the thinness of the oil pastry dough was frustrating! I may try the shortening/butter just for manageability, but will judge it lastly by taste. Thanks for posting this!! I needed help terribly.

dachshundlady said...

I have tried an all oil pastry dough before but did not like the flavor (I used Canola). I will try this one with melted butter. That may take care of the funny "off" taste I detected in the past. I really hate making piecrust so hope this cures me!

Edith Gawler said...

My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother are all famously wonderful pie bakers, and they ALWAYS used the oil recipe. Now I bake pies with the same recipe for a farmers market, and people are obsessed with my crust! I usually don't use melted butter (just fresh, light oil, salt, flour and milk or water), but I think I'll try it with butter.

Another cool thing with an oil crust - It is so simple to make vegan pies! I have a couple vegan friends and they are thrilled.

swifty said...

My mom only made oil pie crusts - Wesson oil every time. It's simple and tasty. I like a lard crust best in most cases, but an oil crust is just fine.

dachshundlady said...

I make all sorts of pastry doughs depending on my mood or if I'm in a hurry. I really like this one. I do sub ice cold vodka for half the water/milk. It makes any pie crust better.

Noshings said...

oh yes, cold vodka, wonderful suggestion!! thanks, dachshundlady!


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