Hi! How do I do a pie crust with leaf lard?



QueenSashy April 4, 2013
I tried both ways: leaf lard exclusively, and lard combined with butter. In my opinion, for apple pie (and certain kinds of cookies) using only leaf lard gives the perfect result.
ChefOno April 3, 2013

Leaf lard is rendered from the fat surrounding the kidneys, i.e. internal fat as opposed to subcutaneous (belly, back) fat. Due to a higher temperature inside the pig, it's more saturated and therefore harder and more crystalline in texture (which makes it easier to cut into flour). I could only guess as to where it got its name. Anybody know for sure?

CHeeb April 3, 2013
What the heck is leaf lard ?
ChefOno April 3, 2013

Yes [light bulb finally turns on] thanks Suzanne. Pig fat (leaf or subcutaneous) + rendering = lard. The distinction is important, not just so as not to confuse me, but people sometimes try to cook with raw fat and wonder what went wrong.

You can easily render it yourself, just plan to do it outside (that's a lesson I learned the hard way).

Reiney April 3, 2013
You can actually use from frozen. As Suzanne said, general pie crust cookery principle being that the colder everything is the better. To work with frozen leaf lard, or shortening, use a box grater and treat it like a block of cheese to break it up over the flour.
sdebrango April 3, 2013
I never thought to grate my lard. Great idea Sarah, I had seen a video about butter but never thought of doing the same to the lard, one of those slap your head, why didn't I think of that before moments. Thank you!
ChefOno April 3, 2013

Chef June, what is the rationale behind melting down lard before use?

sdebrango April 3, 2013
Isn't Chef June talking about rendering the lard. Mine comes already rendered. I have heard you can get it like that and render yourself.
ChefJune April 3, 2013
My Grandmother and aunts used lard exclusively for both biscuits and pie crusts, and they were the best. I usually use a combination, but more lard than butter. When you buy leaf lard from a butcher or farmer, you often have to prep it before you can use it. It has to be melted down (from its original form).
ChefOno April 2, 2013

To be clear, lard may be substituted for shortening in a recipe but it can't always replace butter due to butter's water content. Suzanne is definitely not alone preferring a combination of butter and lard, especially in sweet pies, but also in biscuits and other baked goods.

sdebrango April 2, 2013
You can make a pie crust substituting leaf lard for butter or shortening equal ratio's. Do you already have a recipe? I use leaf lard in my pie crusts but I combine with butter. I have used Julia Childs recipe for years and it has never failed me yet. The ratio is to use more butter than lard but I find the resulting crust is flaky and delicious. Here is the recipe in case you need one: http://food52.com/recipes/14751-julia-s-all-purpose-pie-dough-pate-brisee
sdebrango April 2, 2013
Also, make sure your leaf lard is cold (not frozen) and work fast, the lard tends to soften quickly. I like everything to be cold, I put my flour in the freezer, use ice cold water, cold butter and cold lard.
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