forum: Food & Drink

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#1 Wed 23 Jan 08 6:48am

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Shortening...

I am confused. I always had thought that shortening was a semi-solid fat (eg Crisco), similar to lard and was used in some baking, such as pastry.

Read a recipe that calls for the shortening "to be creamed with the sugar ...". Sounded odd to me. Thought that shortening would be "rubbed in to resemble breadcrumbs".

Is my understanding of shortening incorrect? I did Google it and Google agreed with me (not that that means anything wink ).

Anyone shed some light on this? Am curious.

Thanks smile


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#2 Wed 23 Jan 08 8:18am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: Shortening...

It would depend on the effect the recipe is trying to achieve. If they want a short taste then it's rubbed in - probably where it got it's name from as it's the most common use. If creamed then the fat is more evenly distributed allowing a more moist mouth feel.

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#3 Wed 23 Jan 08 8:32am

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Shortening...

Thanks, Rabbit.


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#4 Wed 23 Jan 08 8:48am

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Shortening...

I always thought that shortning was as you discribed it Maree.

I can see that teating it slightly differently might have a different affect on the cooking..I might give it a go and see if I cab acheive spongy pastry for the top af a pie !! lol

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#5 Wed 23 Jan 08 8:56am

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Shortening...

The recipe was for biscuits. Good luck with the pastry. I would have rubbed the shortening (or butter) in, rather than creaming. Pastry is not one of my things apart from the bought stuff, lol.


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#6 Wed 23 Jan 08 3:31pm

gramma julie

Member
From Southwestern Ontario
Member since Fri 16 Jul 04

Re: Shortening...

I don't do a lot of baking anymore but when I did, a lot of my recipes called for shortening (vegetable) for cakes, cookies etc. Cake and cookie recipes now use butter or margarine. When I took a cake decorating course some years back the frosting was made with shortening instead of butter. So, I've been cooking (baking) (creaming) with shortening for many years.

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#7 Wed 23 Jan 08 5:47pm

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Shortening...

Hi gramma julie and thanks for the response. That's interesting to know.

All fats are equal, I realise, kilojoule/calorie-wise. But isnt shortening a "unhealthy" fat? If I do try this recipe, think I will substitute canola margarine.

The rain has stopped here (due back Sunday with storms- at least Australia Day- Saturday is meant to be fine) but with the sun out again, the humidity has returned. Not good for baking pastry or biscuits/cookies with a high fat content.

Might leave this recipe for the cooler months to try.

Thanks again  thumbsup


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#8 Wed 23 Jan 08 6:34pm

cupcake

Forum champ
From Cambodia, eh?
Member since Tue 09 Nov 04

Re: Shortening...

Maree, The word 'shortening' actually refers to the broad category of fats used in baking. This can include the individual ingredient known as Crisco 'Shortening', but it can just as correctly refer to butter, etc.

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#9 Wed 23 Jan 08 6:46pm

SonomaEddie

Forum super champ
Occupation Chief cook and bottle washer
From Northern California
Member since Sat 10 Feb 07

Re: Shortening...

I would cream the sugar and shortening as I would cream sugar and butter.. with a mixer.
Eddie

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#10 Wed 23 Jan 08 7:15pm

Maree

Forum super champ
From Newcastle, Australia
Member since Sat 10 Mar 07

Re: Shortening...

Thanks, cupcake, for your response.

I thought, in common useage, shortening referred to substances such as Crisco and lard, whilst butter and margarine were referred to as "butter/margarine".

All do the same job (to add fat), (which is "shortening") be it to pastry making, which I rarely make for health, personal/family preference/our humidity/time and oven space (my three businesses are run from home, using the family kitchen and appliances). Due to kitchen pressures, if I do use pastry, it it phyllo and is the "non-freeze" variety. Figure if Jamie chooses to use supermarket "all butter" pastry, it is good enough for me (on the rare occasions I might use puff as a pie topping etc).

Why do we have so much un-necessary confusion (rhetorical question)? If we are advised to use "Crisco-type" products/lard/butter/margarine (or oil, for that matter), why isn't it stipulated?

The only time that I have used lard was about 20 years ago in a "hot water pastry" for a fancy French pie. It was a disaster.I binned it. It was the height of Summer (not ideal conditions with both high heat and humidity for making pastry. Used the filling to make a proscuitto-lined terrine.

Thanks for the info. Sorry about my whinge. Not directed at you but at some recipe writers/editors (not here, but those at large) wink


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