Baking with (or without) Lard

I just received a very old (maybe 100 years)recipe for a wonderful italian pastry called pasticiotti, my Great Grandmother used Lard for the crust. I have never baked with lard, Is there an appreciable difference between using lard in pastry crust or using vegetable shortning or butter. I am finding haard to find lard for some reason and want to make this recipe exactly like my Great Grandmother but if I cannot find the lard iare the alternatives going to give me the same or similar result?

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13 Comments

sdebrango May 13, 2011
Thank you everyone, as someone who has never baked with lard all of this advice is invaluable, I'm sure I will have several batches that I make before I get it right. I will get one from Court St, Bakery in Brooklyn to use as a guide. I appreciate everyones help.
Ophelia thanks for the heads up on freezing the lard didn't know it melts that quickly.
 
Ophelia May 13, 2011
The best substitute I've found for lard is coconut oil, it smells nice and stays pretty solid when you're mixing into flour, which makes for nice flaky crusts.
I'd still go with lard though. You might want to cut it into smallish chunks and freeze them before you start to keep it from melting too much while you're working it into your crust; the lard I buy at the farmer's market melts very quickly and isn't terribly solid even just out of the fridge.
 
innoabrd May 13, 2011
Have to admit that while I love the texture lard gives, I really like the flavour of butter and mostly bake with that.

Don't butchers in the US sell fat? I've always just bought fat from a butcher and rendered it.
 
sdebrango May 12, 2011
I will check out the farmers market to see if they have leaf lard. There is also an Italian pork store sort of nearby will check that out also. Thanks. Lard just sounds bad I know its supposed to be great for baking and SKK thanks the article was great, had no idea it's actually healthy, and free of trans fat. Amazing.
 
spuntino May 12, 2011
I generally cut lard & butter together only because lard is kind of bland, just a personal preference. it has less flavor, imo!
 
pierino May 12, 2011
Leaf lard is definitely the way to go if you can find it. Mexican style "manteca" is just way too strong flavored. With leaf lard you will have to render it yourself. You can order it through Surfas but the shipping is probably about 5 times the price of the lard. I always bring some home with me when I'm down in LA.
 
sdebrango May 12, 2011
The recipe came with no instructions or direction of any kind. I hope that they have lard this Saturday at the Farmers Market, will look for leaf lard, I've never heard of that. I am so excited to try to make them. They are my favorite from the Italian pastry shop and I have always wanted ot learn how to make them.
 
sdebrango May 12, 2011
Thank you everyone, I am going to try to find lard, I talked to a friend who told me they sell it sometimes at the Farmers Market in my neighborhood. I am going to post the recipe here as soon as I make them and I will try to post a picture. My Mother sent me the original recipe from my Great Grandmother Rose, and the translation which my Aunt did in 1949. I hope they turn out. I really want to use Lard if I can find it to stay true to the recipe. Thanks!
 
SKK May 12, 2011
Lard is not only wonderful it is healthy! http://www.slate.com/id/2219314/ Wonderful article on lard in this link. I attached it because it also tells you where to buy it in NYC. Also, as ChefJune says, it is easy to render it. That is what my grandmothers did. I also am voting you share your recipe!
 
ChefJune May 12, 2011
The best place to find lard, if you can, is from a farmer (at a farmer's market) who sells leaf lard. This is the top quality lard. You have to render it yourself, but that just involves putting it into a pan and melting it over low heat. Then you can store it in the fridge (or freeze it) almost indefinitely. But you will be so busy baking with it, because it makes the best biscuits and pie crusts! not to mention cookies. ;)

And I would love the recipe, too, please.
 
boulangere May 12, 2011
Do try to find lard if you can. First, it contains no trans fats. Second, it is wonderful for making pastry. I've had luck finding it sometimes in the Mexican section of a grocery store, sometimes with butter and margarine. And yes, would you share the recipe?
 
Frontalgirl May 12, 2011
I love baking with lard! It adds a beatiful flakyness. I'm able to buy fresh rendered lard at my local farmer's market. You may also try at a mexican market. When you look, be sure to buy it refridgerated. It can be found in the shortening section in some supermarkets, but that has lots of chemicals.:( hope this helps!
 

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Lexmccall May 12, 2011
I've only made cookies with lard (bizcochitos, a David Tanis recipe), not a pastry crust yet, but the advice I've seen elsewhere is that vegetable shortening is an acceptable substitute. Lard doesn't have a very strong flavor, at least not if it's any good, and it seems the physical properties are more similar to something like Crisco than to butter.
Will you share the recipe when you've had a chance to make it?
 
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