When we decided to write Beyond Bacon, it was mostly because we had fallen in love with lard. Once a staple in every kitchen as the fat of choice for both baking and frying, the saturated fat paranoia chased it to the fringes and soon lard became synonymous with unhealthy. This is a tragedy, in our view, because lard gives a unique texture and flavor that can’t easily be replaced. Not to mention, science has since disproved the myths about saturated fat – and we love lard because it’s an incredible source of nutrients when obtained from pastured pigs!
It was with this in mind that we decided to make a lard based pie crust. Lard was a standard ingredient in pie crust in our grandparents generation, so we thought we should bring it back to prominence. It took us about 7 tries of testing to get the instructions and ratios just right; but, the result is a fantastic crust that many people call the best grain-free pie crust.
So since we’re finally in strawberry season and people are going to want their strawberry or strawberry rhubarb pies soon, we thought it was a good time to share this excellent pie crust. We’re going to be using it soon!
The trick with the lard is to make sure you use leaf fat instead of back fat for your lard. Leaf fat has a more neutral, less porky flavor that is ideal for baking applications. We also think you would be wise to render your own. It’s easy! See our instructions here in our tutorial. Also, be sure that your lard is VERY cold before you cut it into the flours. The colder the better and the more flaky your resulting crust will be.
But what will you use your pie crust for? How about these suggestions:
- 1/2 C blanched almond flour
- 1/2 C coconut flour
- 1/4 C tapioca flour
- 1/2 C very cold lard placed in freezer for 10 minutes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 TBSP cold water
- In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, slowly mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour.
- Using 1/2-inch cubes of the very cold Lard, cut the Lard into the flours with a fork or pastry cutter. Continue to do this until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Add the salt. Then, add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, using a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate each one.
- Form the dough into a disk by hand, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes or until you are ready to roll it out.
- On top of a wide layer of plastic wrap, roll out the dough into a 10-12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. As there is no gluten or eggs as binding proteins in this crust recipe, the dough will still be slightly crumbly. Handle it carefully. If areas begin to crack, simply bind them back together by pinching the dough with your fingers and lightly rolling it out where the indentation has formed.
- When ready, turn the 9-inch pie pan upside down on top of the center of the crust. Wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the backside of the pie pan, and gently flip the crust and pan over. The crust will easily fall into place, but some cracks might need to be fixed as noted in step 5.
- Remove the plastic wrap, and crimp the edges of the crust with a fork. Dock the crust by poking holes in the bottom with a fork.
- To prebake the crust, bake for 10 minutes in a 400°F oven.
We recommend the coldest leaf lard possible for best results - keep dough chilled until ready to work with it!