Duck Fat for pastries instead of lard?

I keep kosher, so I can't partake in any part of a pig, which unfortunately includes its lard. But I was wondering if I can use duck fat as a substitute for baking (savoury) pie shells, biscuits and the like. I understand it might taste quite 'ducky', but as a topping for pot pies or an accompaniment to eggs and potatoes at breakfast, I wouldn't mind. What I'm more concerned about is the differences in pig lard and duck lard when it comes to the baking process. Do they break down differently?

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10 Comments

Mrs B. July 14, 2017
David Lebovitz has a recipe for duck fat cookies in his most recent book (Paris Kitchen, page 297 - 98). They are incredible, especially when made with duck fat from his "counterfeit confit," made with gin, juniper berries, allspice, bay leaves and nutmeg. The cookies have chopped dried cherries, Armagnac and vanilla in them. Try them. ;o)
 
Oscar C. July 17, 2017
Thanks for the recommendation! I love David Lebovitz, and I'll be sure to give these a try!
 
Wendy July 13, 2017
Growing up, I didn't eat pie because my mother's piecrust had no redeeming qualities. Then, I tried a bite of pie at a small restaurant where they used chicken fat in the pie crust. Wow! I never looked back and started to actually make pie, but using lard. I expect rendred duck fat would be great and think I will give it a try now that it is often available for sale.
 
Oscar C. July 17, 2017
I have a large canister I'm still trying to get through. A pie would be just the thing I thinK!
 
Christine S. July 12, 2017
What about matzo Brie made with chicken fat as a breakfast treat? One of my favorites!
 
Oscar C. July 17, 2017
Sounds awesome! I'm going to try that
 
PieceOfLayerCake July 12, 2017
I'm not too experienced in duck fat, but I feel like duck fat wouldn't remain solid enough to perform like lard in pastries that require it. However...D'Artagnan, a specialty meat supplier, says that it can be used in equal measure to substitute for lard in baking recipes. They're biased, of course, but its worth experimenting. I'd recommend just doing a simple biscuit recipe or pie crust, since it requires structure in the fat and isn't too fussy or complicated. As for it having to be savory, high quality animal fats (like butter) aren't going to taste meaty, so duck fat can absolutely be used in sweet baking applications. I've had duck fat cookies before and, while it didn't really improve the product, it certainly worked, and there was not a trace of duck flavor.
 
Oscar C. July 17, 2017
Thanks for the pointers. I definitely want to try scones and pie crust before a big project.
 
ChefJune July 12, 2017
Well, to tell the truth, duck fat doesn't taste any more "ducky" than lard tastes "piggy!" And yes, you can use duck fat for pie crusts, and still get that fabulous flaky crust that lard is so famous for.
And on a different but related subject, duck bacon is a far better substitute for the porky variety than turkey. Turkey does not have enough fat to make anything that really resembles bacon.
 
Oscar C. July 17, 2017
I've never had duck bacon before. I had duck prosciutto before, though, and that's awesome.
 
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