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Baking without shortening doesn't shortchange results

Thursday, April 08, 1999

Being cursed with an allergy is no picnic, especially when you're allergic to certain types of food. So when Agnes Matrosky of Carnegie requested a recipe for pie crust and cake frosting made without shortening because of her son's allergy to cottonseed oil, we hoped we'd get a response. We did - our readers came through with a unique pie crust recipe and delicious frostings.

The pie crust recipes basically followed the same four ingredients: flour, salt, vegetable oil that replaced the shortening, and water or milk. We must warn you, though - these pie crusts were not easy to work with. They are delicate and break apart easily (the good news is this dough is soft and can easily be repaired). Here are a few tips we found helpful when working with this dough:

Coating your fingers with a little flour will help prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. We sprinkled flour on both sheets of wax paper, which made it easier to remove the dough.

?If the wax paper slides while you're rolling the dough, try placing a damp towel underneath the wax paper.

Enough said on the difficulty. The bottom line is this pie crust turned out a delicious, flaky golden brown.

The Smooth 'n' Creamy Frosting was a big hit. It's a frosting that can be used on any flavor cake. One of the neat things is you can change the flavor by changing the pudding. We made a chocolate cream pie (using the accompanying single crust pie recipe) and added a thick layer of the Smooth 'n' Creamy Frosting as a final touch - the pie was gone in minutes.

Here's a tempting combination: cream cheese and chocolate. Better still is Chocolate Philly Frosting. Try a dark chocolate cake with this frosting and they'll be back for seconds.

This double-crust recipe is from the "Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook" (1950 edition). Stir 'n' Roll Pastry was submitted by Eileen Kelly of the North Side.


Stir 'n' Roll Pastry

2 cups sifted flour
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (we used canola oil)
1/4 cup whole milk

Mix dry ingredients. Add the oil and milk all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir slightly until mixed (at this point form the dough into a ball with you hands). Divide dough in half. Flatten each half slightly, place one half between two sheets of wax paper. Roll dough into a circle approximately 11 inches in diameter. Gently peel off top sheet of wax paper, place dough, paper side up, in an 8- or 9-inch pie pan. Gently peel off remaining wax paper. Lightly ease dough into pan with your fingers; flute edges. After adding the filling of your choice (we chose fresh apples), repeat this process with remaining dough, gently placing the top crust over filling. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 40 minutes (see note).

Note: Our apple pie took about 45 minutes to bake.

Martha Tea of Gibsonia has been using this double-crust recipe for years, and it's worked well for her.

Pie Crust

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cold water

Mix all together. Roll dough according to directions above.

And this single pie crust recipe comes from Nancy Marshall of McDonald.

Heart Healthy Pie Crust

1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon oil (saf- flower or canola)
2 tablespoons skim milk
Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of any of the seasonings you are using in the filling: cinnamon or nut- meg for fruit pies, for dessert crusts add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (we made a chocolate cream pie and used 1 table- spoon sugar)

Mix flour and salt and any other dry seasoning. Pour oil into a measuring cup; add skim milk to oil, but do not mix. Pour all at once into flour. For rolling out dough follow Stir 'n' Roll pastry directions.

Note: If you're baking an unfilled pie crust, prick holes in the crust to allow steam to escape and prevent dough from rising. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

This easy recipe was sent in by Charlotte A. Kurtz of Emsworth.

Smooth 'n' Creamy Frosting

1 package (4-serving size) in- stant vanilla pudding and pie filling (or any other flavor)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup cold milk
1 8-ounce container non-dairy whipped topping, thawed

Combine pudding mix, sugar and milk in small bowl.

Beat slowly with rotary beater or at lowest speed of electric mixer until well blended, about 1 minute.

Fold in whipped topping. Spread on cake at once. Makes about 4 cups or enough for two 9-inch layers.

Note: Frosted cake should be refrigerated. For a firmer frosting, let mixture stand 5 minutes before folding in whipped topping.

Deborah Martin Pike of Churchill sent in this frosting recipe.

Chocolate Philly Frosting

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
21/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate, melted (we melted ours in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt

Combine cheese and milk. Add sugar gradually, blending thoroughly. Add chocolate, vanilla and salt. Frosts two 8-inch layers.

Note: We used an electric mixer set on medium.


??Does anyone have the recipe for the poultry stuffing served in the Schenley High School cafeteria, circa 1949? If you do, Ruth Rutkouskas of Carnegie would like to have it.

??Years ago, Laura Holler of Fallowfield Township, Washington County, purchased bread (nut or date) sold in cans. They were dark and moist. If anyone can recall the brand name of the breads and where they can be purchased please let us know.

Editor's note: One comes to mind. It's the Crosse & Blackwell brand. It's still available in some stores, usually in the cake mix section.


"In regards to your April 1, 1999, Food article about the young lady who is allergic to milk, I was somewhat surprised at the incredulous tone of the article when addressing how insensitive many people are to dietary restrictions.

"I have been a strict vegetarian for nine years (primarily for religious and ethical reasons), and I find it often nearly impossible to impress upon people the importance of honoring my special needs, when eating out, and most certainly while away at college.

"The response of one college that 'she can just eat salads' is typical of the vast majority of food service providers. It is up to the individuals who either make the choice to restrict their diet or find themselves with food allergies to take precautions, but it is up to our culture to be more accepting and sensitive of those with different dietary needs.

"On a different note, there are thousands of vegans (those who do not eat any form of meat, dairy or animal-derived product) in the Pittsburgh area who have been developing healthy dairy-free diets for themselves for years. I respect this young woman's concern about her health and well-being, but this is hardly a new concept in eating. Most Asian and African cuisines contain no dairy products of any kind."

Cressida Lennox

Point Breeze

-By Arlene Burnett

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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