Real food cooking is back, and whole, natural fats are a big part of it! Fortunately, the art of cooking and baking with lard have been kept alive by us old-school homestead cooks, and lard pie crust is one of my absolute favorite things!
You won’t find this recipe difficult, especially if you have made pie crust before, so I shall leave you with just a few quick tips to get that crispy golden brown crust that are perfect for any pie, sweet or savory.
Keep it cold!
Work with cold water, cold lard, and even cold flour if you have the time to chill it. Pie crust that is overworked or warm will become overly dense. Use cold ingredients whenever you can and work quickly if your kitchen is warm.
Don’t try to hard
Working the lard into the dough with a pastry cutter is the classic way to make a crust, and the most common method I use. I often follow the classic advice to work the lard in until it is in “pea sized” chunks. However, if you like a very crackly crisp crust with flaky layers, try just using your fingers and leaving the chunks of lard pretty big, about the size of walnuts. It’s as rustic as it gets, and you may find that the rougher crust suits you need for crackle!
Add the water slowly
The exact amount of water you will need can vary depending on the flour you are using. Add the water slowly, and only enough until the dough sticks together in a shaggy ball. Don’t add to much water, or the dough will not hold it’s shape very well while cooking.
Egg wash for a dark golden brown bake
Just before baking, brush a light egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) onto the crust. What a beautiful brown and shiny pie you will get!
That’s all! This crust is wonderful for sweet or savory pies, and has a distinctly old-fashioned flavor and texture. You’ll love it!