FreshFind: Good lard!
Praise the lard and pass the apple filling! It's high season for pie making. If you've aways used butter or Crisco, this year, try lard. Lard -- pork fat -- makes the flakiest pie crust, and it's a good pastry for beginning pie makers. A chilled lard crust has more moldability than just about any other pastry. It's less likely to crack and holds its shape nicely. And you don't need any grandma wisdom to try lard pie pastry.
The only challenge you will have to deal with is how much water to add to the pastry. This can be tricky, because lard has an oily, elastic texture like that of solid vegetable shortening (only more so) and it's less apparent when sufficient water has been added. Sprinkle, don't pour. Remember three things: allow pastry to rest in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling; keep the dough cold; roll on a well-floured surface.
For a double crust, do this. Mix 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2/3 cup cold lard, cut into pieces. Fluff the dry ingredients with a fork. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms clumps. Test the dough by squeezing with your fingers. If it seems a bit dry, drizzle more water, a teaspoon at a time. Using your hands, lightly pack the pastry into 2 balls, just as you would a snowball, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten the balls into 3/4-inch-discs on a floured working surface. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.
Find Leidy's Pure Lard (from Souderton, Pa.) at all McGinnis Sisters stores, $3.69, 14-ounce tubs. The pure, non-hydrogenated pork lard is a by-product of Leidy's pork products. The company uses all locally raised pork with no antibiotics or other additives. .
First Published November 23, 2009 12:00 am