Operation: Pie


As you can probably imagine, after I rendered my leaf lard I didn’t wait too long to turn it into a pie – I was too excited!

Using my usual pie crust recipe, I decided to go with a half butter, half lard ratio. That way, in theory, I would have the best of both worlds – tasty butter and flake-inducing lard.

Into the food processor went the product of my hard work:
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I’d been keeping it in the freezer, but as you can see it remained fairly soft, more scoopable than cuttable. The smell of it was pleasantly nutty rather than porky, which I took as a good sign for my pastry dreams.

Here it is all whirred together with the butter:
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And with the additional flour:
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When I got to the stage of the crust recipe where I had to mush everything together, I was pleased to note that it was a good deal easier than when all of the fat is butter:
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Usually I have a hard time getting it all to ball together, but this time was a snap! So far, so good. I tossed it into the refrigerator to firm up and went about my day.

Eventually the time came to create the pie. In a happy coincidence, Mr. Menace and I were going that night to the house of our friends Elise and the Goog for dinner – I felt reasonably certain that as fellow adventurous eaters they would be willing to eat a pie that contained pig fat (I don’t believe in feeding people things they’re unaware of, as it can be dangerous!) and it is my motto to always bring something when you are invited to someone’s house. I went with a simple apple because clearly it is the king of pies.

The dough rolled out easily and with less tearing than my usual crusts:
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Look at how smooth and pretty that is!
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This things smelled amazing baking. Here’s the final result:
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Note how puffy the crust got – that’s a good thing! It’s all of the pastry flakes that cause that. It also browned more evenly and deeply – without burning – than my typical pie. Here’s my normal crust for comparison:
Apple Pie

See how much less richly brown it is? Mind you, that was still a pretty tasty pie, but so far, the lard crust has it all over the butter one.

So, how did it taste? I’m going to be really, really honest here – this was easily the best crust that I have ever personally made.
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Perhaps the others will weigh in with their verdicts in the comments, but this was everything I hoped it would be – tender, flaky, with that slight nuttiness carrying through, and moist without being greasy. Rendering the lard is a bit time-consuming, but it’s not difficult, and I got enough for two pies out of the process. Leaf lard – my new secret weapon in the quest for the perfect crust!

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3 responses to “Operation: Pie

  1. This was one of the best pies I have ever had! The crust on was so good, warm tasting, almost savory, it was a perfect match for the apple filling. Oh pig! Is there nothing you can’t do!

  2. oh, the end to the pie saga! it sounds delicious and was the perfect ending to my night!

  3. Definitely a fantastic pie, the crust was like nothing I have ever had before and what, I imagine, all those pie’s I’ve eaten SHOULD have tasted like.

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