Pie Paranoia: Times vs. Crisco


Today, pre-Thanksgiving hysteria moves from the bird to the dessert. In The Times, Melissa Clark obsessively tests pie crust methods to conclude, at least for now, that a little duck fat makes the perfect flake, and provides five recipes.

Crisco, the shortening manufacturer, announced its new holiday hotline, 1-877-FOR PIE TIPS, featuring “live pie experts”. No doubt inspired by the turkey hotline at Butterball (1-800-BUTTERBALL), and the American tradition of having a mental breakdown on the morning of any family gathering.

But the Crisco Counselors won’t have much advice if you’re baking one of Clark’s recipes. She does not recommend Crisco, though she also does not mention it by name:

“The shortening crust, however, was a bust among tasters. Even when combined with 70 percent butter, all agreed that the unpleasant greasy film the shortening left on the palate was not worth the vague texture improvement. Shortening is much less expensive than butter. Is it popular with bakers because of the cost?”