This pie crust recipe with lard might be your new go-to pie crust. Lard really is one of the secrets to a perfectly flaky pie crust. It’s an old-fashioned ingredient that needs to get back in our kitchens!
Why Use Lard in Pie Crust?
Baking a pie crust with lard is a traditional method that has been used for generations, and it offers several advantages when it comes to creating a delicious and flaky crust. Here are some reasons why lard is often used for pie crust:
- Flavor: Lard imparts a rich, savory flavor to the pie crust that many people find appealing. It can add a subtle, slightly savory note to the crust that complements the sweet or savory fillings of the pie.
- Texture: Lard has a high-fat content and a unique crystalline structure that makes it an excellent choice for creating a flaky and tender pie crust. When the lard melts during baking, it creates pockets of air in the dough, resulting in a light and airy texture.
- Flakiness: Lard-based crusts are known for their exceptional flakiness. This is because lard is solid at room temperature but melts at a slightly higher temperature than butter, which means that it can create more distinct layers in the dough as it bakes.
- Moisture retention: Lard has a higher water content than some other fats, like shortening, and this extra moisture can help keep the pie crust tender and prevent it from becoming overly dry or crumbly.
- Heat resistance: Lard has a high smoke point, which means it can withstand the high temperatures of baking without breaking down or developing off-flavors. This makes it a good choice for pie crusts, which are typically baked at relatively high temperatures.
Pie Crust with Lard
- 1 pie weights or beans
- 1½ cup flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup lard cold
- 2-4 TBS cold water
- 1 tsp cider vinegar mix with the water
- This makes a single crust. Double ingredients if you need a top and bottom. Mix the flour lard and salt by hand or in a stand mixer. Make sure the lard is cold. Once the mixture looks like pea-sized crumbs add the cold water mixed with vinegarShape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap, place in the fridge while the oven preheatsPreheat the oven to 425 degrees Lightly flour your work surface. Roll the dough out slightly larger than the pie plate. You can cut around it to make it perfectly sized. Press neatly into the pie plate. Fold the dough under all around the edge. Using your fingers or a fork, press the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork. Line the crust with parchment paper or foil. Fill the crust with beans or pie weights. This ensures the crust will not shrink up. Bake for 12 minutes with the weights, remove the paper or foil and the weights, and bake for 12 minutes more. You can brush the crust with an egg wash for the second 12 minutes if desired.Enjoy
Ingredients for Flaky Lard Pie Crust
- 1.5 cups flour ( I use half wheat and half white)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup lard (chilled, I stick it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes)
- 3-4 TBS cold water
- 1 tsp cider vinegar added to the cold water
Instructions for Making a Single Prebaked Pie Crust with Lard
- Mix the flour lard and salt by hand or in a stand mixer. Make sure the lard is cold.
- Once the mixture looks like pea-sized crumbs add the cold water mixed with vinegar
- Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap, place in the fridge while the oven preheats
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- Lightly flour your work surface
- Roll the dough out slightly larger than the pie plate. You can cut around it to make it perfectly sized (don’t waste the scraps, brush them with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, bake for 10 minutes)
- Press neatly into the pie plate. Fold the dough under all around the edge. Using your fingers or a fork, press the edges.
- Prick the bottom with a fork
- Line the crust with parchment paper or foil. Fill the crust with beans or pie weights. This ensures the crust will not shrink up.
- Bake for 12 minutes with the weights, remove the paper or foil and the weights, and bake for 12 minutes more. You can brush the crust with an egg wash for the second 12 minutes if desired.
Secrets to a Flaky Pie Crust
Of course, lard is one key, but it takes more than just adding lard to get a perfect crust. Follow the tips below for a tender flaky crust!
- Use Cold Ingredients:
- Start with very cold lard, chill it for at least 30 minutes before using
- Use ice-cold water to mix the dough. You can even add a few ice cubes to the water.
- Don’t Overwork the Dough:
- Handle the dough as little as possible. Overworking the dough can develop the gluten, making the crust tough.
- Mix the dough just until it comes together, and avoid kneading it.
- Use the Right Flour:
- All-purpose flour is commonly used for pie crusts. It has a moderate protein content, which helps create a tender crust. However, I have successfully used whole wheat flour in my pie crust for many years. You can just mix in half wheat and half white.
- Don’t Skip Salt:
- A pinch of salt enhances the flavor of the crust
- Chill the Dough:
- After mixing the dough, form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the fat to re-solidify and the gluten to relax.
- Roll It Out Properly:
- When rolling out the dough, use a lightly floured surface and a rolling pin. Roll from the center outward to maintain an even thickness.
- Use an Egg Wash:
- Brushing the top crust with an egg wash (a beaten egg or egg yolk) before baking can give the crust a nice, golden color and a slightly crisp texture.
- Make sure to cut small slits or create a vent hole in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking. This prevents the crust from becoming soggy.
- Pie Weights: These are good for a single prebaked crust, they prevent shrinkage
- Remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts don’t yield the perfect pie crust. With time and practice, you’ll improve your technique and achieve a wonderfully flaky pie crust.