Best Fats for Baking Pies: Butter, Shortening & Coconut Oil Battle It Out

Categories: Home Cooking
Emily Codik
The four pies, ready for the tasters

After inquiring about trans fats at supermarket and restaurant bakeries and receiving unsatisfactory response, I devised a blind fat taste test. I baked identical pies, with the same filling (fresh strawberries), but with different fats.

I tested the following 100 percent artificial trans fat-free fats: cultured unsalted butter, palm oil shortening, a mixture of butter and shortening and, lastly, coconut oil.

The tasters? Four reluctant dinner guests, lured to my household with promises of fresh baked goodness.

Here are the final results, ranked:

Emily Codik
The all butter rendition of a strawberry pie.

Fourth Place: All Butter Pie

Feedback: "Tastes kind of like the tip of a croissant", "Not a fan, it's too crispy", "Doesn't break or crumble like a pie crust should."

The Baker's Standpoint: Even though the flavor of the crust was delicious, this all butter pie crust baked up too crisp. It did turn out to be the most aesthetically pleasing pie though (but, then again, maybe that's because it was the first one I shaped).

Emily Codik
The crumbly coconut oil pie crust

Third Place: Coconut Oil Pie

Feedback: "This crust is too sandy", "The texture is almost like a shortbread, not a flaky pie crust."

The Baker's Standpoint: This coconut oil pie was the fussiest to roll out and shape, because the oil kept melting, making the dough difficult to work with. This reflected on the mouth feel as well. But coconut oil is a popular choice among many famous vegan bakeries like BabyCakes. Either they know something that I don't, or coconut oil is better suited for cakes and icings.

Location Info

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

130 NE 40th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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Any reason why lard wasn't considered?

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