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Thursday, April 16, 2015

MY NEW PALM-OIL-FREE RAINFOREST SHORTENING & NEW LOWER-FAT FLAKY VEGAN PASTRY

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 UPDATE!  Jeannie, another Blogger, wrote and asked me how this shortening would work in a vegan "buttercream" frosting and how it would hold up at room temperature. 


 I didn't want to make a big dessert, since we overindulged at a family event over the last two days, so I made a very small version of my basic vegan "buttercream": 1/2 cup of the Rainforest Shortening, frozen and sliced into tiny cubes; 12 oz. organic powdered sugar, 5 tsp. non-dairy milk or other liquid of choice; 1 tsp. vanilla.  I beat it in an electric mixer until fluffy and left it at room temperature (albeit, not super-warm) for about 5 hours and then spread it on some tiny ginger snaps-- it held up nicely!

 
 After I developed my palm oil-free vegan "Buttah" and worked on it until I was satisfied enough to share it with the wider world (see http://vegan.com/recipes/bryanna-clark-grogan/bryannas-vegan-butter/ and http://veganfeastkitchen.blogspot.ca/p/introducing-homemade-palm-oil-free.html ), I played around with developing a palm oil-free vegan shortening that would be firm, but higher in monounsaturated fat than polyunsaturated or saturated fat.  But it went by the wayside as I pursued other projects. Shortening doesn't play a large part in my cooking style, so it wasn't terribly important.

But this week I was wondering if I could make a low-fat (or lower-fat) vegan pastry that was more flaky than the oil-based pastry that I've used and enjoyed for years. I decided that I needed to use a solid fat, but I didn't want to resort to anything made with palm oil or hydrogenated fats, or even the darling of the moment, saturated fat-rich coconut oil.  (Why not?  I recommend this article and the information here, here and here.) So I revisited my palm oil-free shortening recipe and quickly had good results.

This shortening has exceeded my expectations. It's easy to make and contains only 3 ingredients. It contains more liquid oil than solid fat, and yet stays solid in the refrigerator. (It will not stay solid at room temperature.  I recommend keeping it frozen until use.). It contains more monounsaturated fat than the saturated or polyunsaturated fats, which is a good thing. (Read this article for information on that and on the confusing reports about fats in the last few months.) And it worked beautifully in my new, flakier low-fat pastry recipe (recipe below), which uses HALF the fat of a traditional pastry recipe.

So, I'm not recommending using this, or any, fat with abandon.  But, for times when you need a solid fat for a particular recipe, this is a product with a much healthier fat profile than palm oil shortening (never mind that palm oil is extremely problematic-- see the information at the end of this page.)

So, without further ado, here are the recipes....

FOR INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS AND EQUIPMENT, AS WELL AS FATS AND THE PALM OIL PROBLEM, SEE THIS PAGE.

The shortening looks yellow due to the color in the lecithin, which emulsifies the two fats.
Printable copy
BRYANNA'S PALM-OIL-FREE RAINFOREST SHORTENING 
(April 14, 2015)  (Store in the freezer)
Servings: 36    Yield: 36 tablespoons/2 ¼ cups  
      
NOTE:  I use deodorized cocoa butter in my homemade palm oil-free vegan “Buttah”, but you can use the less expensive “natural” (UN-deodorized) type of cocoa butter for this recipe, since it contains only a small amount. The cocoa butter you use should NOT be soft at room temperature-- it should be very hard and almost shatter when you cut it.
EQUIPMENT: You will need a small kitchen scale for this recipe-- it is the most accurate way to measure the cocoa butter. 
You will also need an inexpensive candy thermometer; 6 medium-sized silicone cupcake liners, or a silicone ice cube mold that makes 6 or 8 large ice cubes (½ cup each), or 2 silicone molds that will each hold a little over a cup; a deep heat-proof (Pyrex) bowl or measuring vessel that holds at least 4 cups; and an immersion/stick blender.


Freshware Jumbo Cube Silicone ice cup mold with six 1/2-cup cavities
INGREDIENTS:
3.8 oz (108.9g) organic food grade cocoa butter (preferably fair trade), “shaved” or cut into small slices with a knife
1 1/2 cups canola oil (you could use high-oleic safflower or sunflower oil instead, if you like)   
2 tsp liquid soy or sunflower lecithin (This is necessary to emulsify the oils-- without it the oils will separate.)

INSTRUCTIONS: 
Have ready 6 medium-sized silicone cupcake liners, or a silicone ice cube mold that makes 6 or 8 large ice cubes (½ cup each), or 2 silicone molds that will each hold a little over a cup, placed in 2 small cake pans.

Place the cocoa butter slices or pieces in a deep heat-proof (Pyrex) bowl or measuring vessel that holds at least 4 cups, and either 1.) melt in the microwave for a couple of minutes, or 2.) place the dish in a double boiler and melt over simmering water. Cool it to 90ºF. (You can speed this up by placing the bowl or dish in a large bowl of cold water or by placing it in the refrigerator.)

When the melted cocoa butter is 90ºF, add the oil and lecithin and immediately start blending with the immersion blender. Blend with a slight up and down motion for a couple of minutes, or until well mixed. (The mixture will not be creamy, but liquid and yellow from the lecithin.)

Immediately divide the mixture evenly between your silicone molds. Place right away into the freezer for about an hour. The shortening should be solid and easy to be released from the liners or mold, wrapped in plastic wrap and kept frozen.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per tablespoon): 108 calories, 108 calories from fat, 12.2g total fat, 2.46g saturated fat, 6.31g monounsaturated fat, 2.86g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 0mg potassium, 0g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein.

For comparison of fat profile: 

Hydrogenated palm oil shortening, per tablespoon: 13g Total Fat, 12g saturated fat, 0.3g Monounsaturated fat, 0.1g Polyunsaturated fat
Coconut oil, per tablespoon: 14g Total Fat , 12g Saturated fat, 0.8g Monounsaturated fat, 0.2g Polyunsaturated fat 
Vegetable Shortening, per tablespoon: 13g Total Fat, 12g Saturated fat, 5g Monounsaturated fat, 3.6 g Polyunsaturated fat 




BRYANNA'S NEW LOWER-FAT FLAKY PASTRY
Makes 1 single pie crust

The plasticity of shortening makes it very easy to rub or cut into flour – resulting in a very flaky, crust.  This tender lower-fat crust is flakier than my oil crust for that reason, but utilizes my non-hydrogenated, palm-and-coconut oil-free homemade shortening for more monounsaturated fat than saturated and polyunsaturated. And I use half as much shortening as the classic Crisco pie crust recipe of the same size.

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
10 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp light granulated organic unbleached sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tablespoons cold soy yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons cold non-dairy milk
4 tablespoons frozen Rainforest Shortening (recipe above), cut into evenly-sized 1/4-inch cubes 
NOTE: Return the shortening to the freezer  while preparing the other ingredients.
TIP from Betsy DiJulio of The Blooming Platter of Vegan Recipes: "I freeze my shortening (and "butter") for biscuits, grating it into the fllour, so your hands barely touch it and, hence, don't begin to melt it. Just spray your grater with nonstick spray first for easy clean-up."


In a medium bowl, whisk together the two flours, salt, baking powder and sugar.

In a cup, whisk together the yogurt and nondairy milk and set aside in the refrigerator

Add the cubed shortening to the flour mixture and, using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips, cut or rub the shortening shortening into the flour. Occasionally, make sure you reach down into the bottom of the bowl and toss the ingredients to make sure all of the fat is combined with the flour mixture. Continue until the shortening is broken into pieces the size of small peas among smaller particles.

Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry mixture and quickly mix with a fork until you can press the mixture together into a ball.  If dry particles remain, add a few drops of water-- just enough to moisten.  Flatten the dough a bit, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling out. NOTE: Roll out on baking parchment or a silicone mat to avoid using alot of flour.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 142 calories, 7 calories from fat, 7.3g total fat, 1.42g saturated fat, 3.61g monounsaturated fat, 1.71 polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 121.1mg sodium, 91.1mg potassium, 17g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber.

FOR COMPARISON: Nutrition Facts for Classic Crisco Pie Crust
Nutrition (per 1/8 of crust), Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 110), Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 3g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 150mg, Total Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 0g), Protein 2g
(from http://www.crisco.com/recipes/classic-crisco-pie-crust-1242  PS: They didn't have all of the elements that I have in my recipe software.)



Enjoy!




5 comments:

Betsy DiJulio said...

We are so lucky you would share. Thank you, Bry! You are an artist and a scientist! The photos have my mouth watering for dinner and it's only 5:51 a.m.!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thank you, Betsy!

Jeannie said...

I don't do pie crusts too often, but am glad to have this alternative! Thank you for your experimentation.

Have you tried this shortening in a buttercream frosting application? What temperatures do you think it will hold up to?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Jeannie, you read my mind! That is my next experiment and I will report back!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Jeannie, I didn't want to make a big dessert, since we overindulged at a family event over the last two days, so I made a very small version of my basic vegan "buttercream": 1/2 cup of the Rainforest Shortening, frozen and sliced into tiny cubes; 12 oz. organic powdered sugar, 5 tsp. non-dairy milk or other liquid of choice; 1 tsp. vanilla. I beat it in an electric mixer until fluffy and left it at room temperature (albeit, not super-warm) for about 5 hours and then spread it on some tiny ginger snaps-- it held up nicely, as you can see in the photo at the top of the page.