Using lard for pie crusts, etc.
Posted: 01 January 2008 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Is using lard the same as using Crisco or other shortenings?  I used lard for the first time and found it to have made a better textured crust.  Is the content of lard different than other shortenings?  Jo Ann

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Posted: 02 January 2008 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yep, you can use the lard just as you would use shortening in a crust.  Lard is rendered animal fat, while shortening is a vegetable fat.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes,  I agree with Patrincia.

The only difference is taste.  Crisco shortening (plain) is tasteless for the most part, and lard tastes, well…. lardy.  I personally have never acquired a taste for lard pastry but some in my family prefer it.

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Posted: 04 January 2008 07:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Julius, I used the lard in making an apple strudel and I really couldn’t tell the difference in taste as far as the lard goes.  I will keep it in mind when I use the lard for baking something else and see if I can taste the lard.  Thanks, Jo Ann

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Posted: 08 January 2008 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I am a big fan of lard in pie crust. If you want it to not taste meaty (which is kind of nice for a savory pie actually), you need to use “leaf lard”. This is lard that has been rendered from the fat surrounding the kidneys of a pig. It has a very neutral flavor and is pretty much like shortening. But it really made my pastry much flakier. I was surprised, but it definitely made a difference to me and I don’t detect any weird flavors as a result of using it.

The only problem is that its hard to find. You can get it from Flying Pigs Farm:
http://www.flyingpigsfarm.com/productdetails.html#serious
But the internet orders must be of unrendered fat for some reason, which is annoying. They have a stand at the greenmarket in Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, and they carry rendered leaf lard at the stand. I stocked up on a few pounds of it this summer when we were visiting my brother in law.

I use 12tbsp butter and 4tbsp lard or shortening in my crust, so a few pounds of the lard lasts for a while.

Give it a try, if you can find it!

-Holly

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Posted: 08 January 2008 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You can purchase lard in the hispanic section of the grocery store too.  It’s not “meaty” in flavor, very neutral tasting (probably highly refined).

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Posted: 09 January 2008 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’ve not yet baked with lard. I’ve read in several places that the flavor and quality of lard can vary a lot. It must depend on the brand you buy, and what conditions it’s experienced in shipping & storage, and on how long it’s been on the grocer’s shelves…

There seems to be general agreement that “leaf lard” is the best type of lard. It is not readily available in the stores here in southern Wisconsin. I’d have to order it specially from one of the better butcher shops. You might have better luck if you’re in the South of the US or an area with a big Hispanic population. Cooking with lard is more traditional there.

I’d love to try it sometime—everyone says it makes for a really flaky crust!

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Posted: 09 January 2008 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I don’t claim to be an expert or anything, but I have read that the lard on the shelf often has been partially hydrogenated to make it more solid (which makes it into trans fat, so maybe they will have to stop doing that soon). Also I’ve read that the best lard for pastry has a finer crystal structure, and that leaf lard is the best in this respect, but that lard rendered from the back fat of the pig is second best. The tub of undifferentiated lard you see at the market is a mix of whatever fat comes off the pig leftovers when you heat them up I guess. But I bet it works ok too. Plus from researching online, leaf lard seems pretty hard to get your hands on.

The lard does make the pastry a little more difficult to work with, but its not a big deal if you keep the temperature under control, which is already crucial if you are using a high butter ratio for your fats. I usually mix up my crust in the food processor with the butter at fridge temp and the lard straight from the freezer.

-Holly

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Posted: 16 January 2008 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Holly -  Thanks for the information about leaf lard.  I put out an e-mail to a local farmer’s market in my area and they are going to try to locate some.  I already had a reply to go to a website -  I think different from the one you mentioned -  about buying some from a pig farm.  Jo Ann

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