Since Nick Rhoads and I have been debating
a ban on trans fats like New York's, I thought this
was interesting. It was Crisco (w/trans fats) vs. oils sans them. Trans fats add to texture, flavor, shelf life - maybe I would shed a tear if it disappeared.Yesterday's New York Times had an article detailing Chef Michael S. Schwartz's test of using Crisco, coconut oil, canola oil, peanut oil, butter and lard in baking and frying. The experiment took place at the Institute of Culinary Education, where Schwartz is an instructor. The dishes tested were tarte Tatin, the venerable French apple tart; French fries and fried chicken. Crisco was the only ingredient with a trans-fat content that breaks the city's new rules. Just as Chef Schwartz predicted, Crisco produced a tart with the flakiest crust. Meanwhile, the tart baked with butter had a firmer crust that was judged inferior. The tarte Tatin made with coconut oil was deemed tasty, but its crust was lumpy and crumbly.
And what of those two dishes so dear to the heart of every fried food lover you ask? French fries made with coconut oil were tasty, but limp. As for those fried in the dreaded Crisco, they were, you guessed it, crispier. As for the fried chicken, all varieties tasted great, regardless of whether they used trans-fats.