There are myriad pie crust recipes. I think they fall into two categories. Ones that are easy to make and make a decent pie crust and others that are a bit more fussy and make a great pie crust. When it comes to Christmas baking, I just have to go to a great pie crust and I have found none better than the classic Tenderflake® Lard recipe from the box the lard comes in. I will be making mincemeat tarts for Christmas dinner tomorrow, so today, I made pie crust.
The ingredients are:
5 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 lb (464 g) Tenderflake® lard
1 tbsp vinegar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Now, I admit I find measuring flour in a measuring cup a pain so I go by weight. I use 4 1/4 ounces of flour as an equivalent of 1 cup. So I weighed out about 23 1/2 ounces of flour for this recipe.
I start by making the ice water. When this recipe calls for ice water, it means it. Do not use cold tap water. Put some ice cubes in a container and fill it with water.
Next, measure out your flour and add the salt to it. Whisk them together. I like to cut the lard into thick slices and push it into the flour. I then use a pastry blender to cut the lard into the flour. The recipe on the box says you can do this with two knives. The times I tried that it worked but it was a long process. Keep cutting the lard into the flour until there are pea sized chunks of lard still left. If you cut it too fine, it won’t come out flaky.
Put the egg in a one cup measure. Add the vinegar. Give them a beat with a fork. Add ice water to bring the volume to one cup. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture into the flour and lard. Stir a little after each addition. You are trying to add as little liquid as you can to get the dough to stick together. You are also trying to handle it as little as possible. You are done when the dough is still a little crumbly but will hold it shape if you take a handful of it.
Turn the pastry out onto a floured counter. It will be crumbly. Gather it into a rectangle. Cut it into six approximately equal blocks. Gather the sections into six discs and wrap them in cellophane. The recipe calls for 1/2 hour in the fridge. I find overnight is better. You can freeze the discs as well. If I am doing that, I put the wrapped dough in a ziploc bag and then into the freezer.
Each disc is one pie shell. They are easier to roll out after the time in the fridge and don’t crumble as much.
In my opinion, this recipe makes the best pie crust but you have to leave it a little crumbly to get the best result. This makes it harder to work with. However, it makes a great flaky crust and the lard gives it a rich flavour. It is my favourite pastry.
Tomorrow I will make the tarts and you will see what I mean!
The Old Fat Guy