Topic: Substitute for vegetable shortening

sandrine    -- 02-28-2005 @ 8:32 AM

I spent one year in the US more than 10 years ago, where I really enjoyed all the deserts and pastries offered!
My children have now reached the age where they can help me baking, and this weekend I wanted to make a "snow white" pie (as the one seen in the Disney animated pictures) but got stuck when it came to the ingredient shortening, which I can not easily find in Belgium. Would anyone know a good substitute for this?

Thank you very much for all comments.



diana    -- 02-28-2005 @ 9:34 AM
  Hi Sandrine,

Welcome to Diana's Desserts Website and to the Discussion Forum.

If you are speaking about the apple pie "Snow White" made in the Disney animated movie, then you can substitute the vegetable shortening in the pie crust with butter, margarine, or a combination of butter and lard, or even vegetable suet.

Please let us know how the pie turns out.

Sincerely, Diana
Diana's Desserts

sandrine    -- 03-01-2005 @ 12:49 AM
  Hello Diana,

Thanks for your reply. Well it doesn't seem too difficult! I just wanted to make sure because I have memories of trying to make zucchine bread a few years ago and it asked for baking soda and baking powder if I remember correctly and I just added more of one ingredient because I didn't have the other one and it turned out to be a big mistake.

I'll keep you posted on the snow white pie.



michelle    -- 05-12-2005 @ 11:27 PM
  In england (and I presume the rest of europe) vegetable shortening is called white vegetable fat and is usually sold under the brand names of 'trex' and 'white flora'. I know certainly the flora doesn't say on the packet what it actually is and it's usually found with the cooking fats in the chilled section at the supermarket. hope this helps

Gitte    -- 05-24-2005 @ 7:10 AM
  Hello Sandrine,
have the same problem here in Germany...I tried "Pflanzenfett" which did not work, I tried "Biskin for baking" which worked much better in some recipes..however best is to try your recipes with different types of fat and decide for yourself which you like velvet cake taste better with butter - to me - however, american butter contains more water that the german made butter does...have fun baking Smile

best regards, Gitte

barnbumbambi    -- 08-05-2006 @ 5:19 PM
  Does butter or margarine work as a substitute for vegetable shortening with everything? Like in sugar cookies?

diana    -- 08-05-2006 @ 5:43 PM
  Hi barnbumbambi,

Butter or margarine can work as a substitute in alot of recipes including sugar cookies. It just depends on the recipe. There are many recipes on the internet that include butter or margarine when making sugar cookies. Butter or margarine is not always recommended for recipes calling for vegetable shortening, but in many cases, it can be substituted.

Hope this information helps you out.

Sincerely, Diana
Diana's Desserts

Goochygirl    -- 10-09-2007 @ 5:11 AM
  Hello! I'm new here to the forums and don't know if it's a little late to reply to this, but, within the past year, My family has changed our way of eating and has cut out the vegetable shortening, as it contains alot of trans fat and preservatives. I have replaced butter for the shortening in almost all of my recipes and so far, so good.It does seem as though it has a softer texture, and if your looking for firmness(like in icings) it is a bit of a challenge...I'm still looking for ideas for that.

aussieIngrid    -- 10-09-2007 @ 12:55 PM
  I live in Australia. I always presumed that vegetable shortening was 'copha'. Here it is packaged like butter but in white paper and When it is cold it looks like this block of white.


Erica    -- 11-28-2007 @ 4:36 PM
  I am hoping someone in Europe can help me with the reverse problem (sort of) from Sandrine.

I live in the USA.  I have a recipe for Lebkuchen from my mother that calls for shortening.  At least that's how its written.  However, I do not remember my mother ever having shortening in the house.  Also, this is supposed to be an old family recipe, I do not believe that my grandmother used shortening back in the late 1800's in Germany.  I would like to try making the original recipe, without shortening, but when I tried substituting butter, it did not come out.

The recipe I have call for sugar, honey, shortening, egg, flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nuts, citron.

aussieIngrid    -- 11-28-2007 @ 5:23 PM
  Hi Erica,

Just looking at your recipe, to me it looks like you are missing baking powder. A lot of *old* recipes from Europe used butter or a vegetable based oil or a mixture of both (ie, melt half the butter and add oil into the mixture and let the entire mixture cool before using it)...a lot of old recipes were vague in instruction because most women simply jotted down the ingredients and remembered the rest....ingredients were just a guide and were often adapted to circumstances - for instance during the Great Wars many ingredients were just not available...My Grandmother ended up writing in some of her passed down recipes 'fat, flour, water or milk, or dilluted cream, sugar or mixture of sugar and strawberry jam" for this strawberry cake recipe that I have at home...its both heartwarming and so loveable to just see women back in time nurturing no matter what the circumstances...


Gitte    -- 11-29-2007 @ 1:13 AM
  Hi Erica,
what I have learned is that butter in America is not as high in fat as it is in butter has 82% fat...that fact alone makes a difference in some recipes...there is also a difference in butter made of sweet creme (Suessrahmbutter) or sour creme (Sauerrahmbutter=more watery not so good for cooking and baking)
Referring to the fact that your recipe is old my guess would be that one once used lard (considering the time it must have been pork lard)
Have fun experimenting.  Gitte Smile


Erica    -- 11-30-2007 @ 3:25 PM
  Thanks for the tips!

Your advice gave me an idea; Between the suggestion to melt the butter and "doctor it up", and the information that German butter has a higher fat content, I thought to try melting the butter until it separates, and then using just the clarified oil.

So I made the dough, and now its curing.  Can't wait to see how it turns out.  Smile

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