Better Butter

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When making pie dough, I often shred the cold butter instead of mixing chunks into the flour. I shred the butter using the large holes of a box grater. Refrigerated butter works fine, but for best results, freeze the butter first. This works with lard and shortening, as well. Instead of mixing with a pastry blender or food processor, simply toss the shredded fat with the flour before adding ice-cold water. This cuts down on the mixing, which is a good thing: The less the dough is handled, the more tender the pastry. Pie crust mythstakespg. 575 in 12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets.

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12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets

Paperback, 704 pages
Publisher: Robert Rose

In thousands of entries on every aspect of cooking and baking, Susan Sampson provides expert information that is indispensable in any kitchen, including: keeping produce safe from spoilage, protecting equipment from nasty bacteria, shortcuts, embellishments, restaurant tricks, presentation tips, party planning and recipe development.

Whether just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing emergency, every home cook will treasure this book.

Susan Sampson (a.k.a. The Fare Lady) is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer who lives in Toronto.