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Using Lard in Pastry


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#91 maggiethecat

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 10:12 PM

Repeat like mantra: Tenderflake is great, Crisco is just fine. Muffin tins are fine. It's just pastry: all you have to do is watch the water content; it can't be too sticky, but you shouldn't have too many dry bits in the bottom of the bowl.

Go lard! Or grated beef suet. Or Crisco, or butter. A light hand, no stress...you'll be fine.

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#92 Marlene

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 10:13 PM

grrr... easy for you to say. pastry queen. :raz:
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#93 chiantiglace

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 01:50 AM

then again, if you had to get real creative you could use just about any kind of pan and just cut pieces to the appropriate sizes. You could use cake rings, half sheet pans, just like the pie dough accordingly, par-bake and reduce the temp a little. In these cases its always a good idea to alter a recipe to prepare over the stove and then pour into the prepared tart shells.
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#94 Darcie B

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 11:05 AM

This is probably too late, but for a pretty free-form or muffin tin tart, roll out the pastry crust and cut with a flower-shaped (fluted edge) cookie cutter. You can use a size to fit in your muffin tin, or go larger for a free-form tart. Just pinch up the fluted edge a bit and voila!

Lard rules for pastry crust! If you have a butcher nearby, you can get some leaf fat from a pig and render your own. Takes some time (mostly unattended pot bubbling away), but it's cheeep! I made enough lard for 40 pie crusts for about $2.00.
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#95 chefcyn

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 11:52 AM

Rats.  I just had a look at some tartlet pans.  I don't think my muffin tins are going to work.  I guess frozen shells it is.  :sad:

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If you're pre-baking the shells to fill later, form them on the underside of the muffin tin by turning it over and draping the circles over the humps and gently pressing them to shape. They'll come off easier and have a nice appearance, and they are less likely to shrink down inside the cup part of the tin. You can flip them right onto a rack to cool and make some more. Then, just before you serve them, fill them with your prepared filling and chill--no soggy bottoms.
Of course this won't work if you're baking the filling in. :rolleyes:
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#96 TurtleMeng

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 11:22 PM

It dawned upon me that lard might taste better than butter in some cookie recipes, I know it's often used in pie crusts also.

My questions are

(1)Where do I get it? I know "kidney fat" is the best but have no idea where to find it. The boxed lard stuff...is that any good? It seems a little scary sitting on the shelf without any refrigeration.
(2) Does it cream like butter?
(3) What is your experience with it?
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#97 carswell

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 11:43 PM

Lard is fine in cookies that don't require a buttery taste. (For those that do, try half lard, half butter.) The texture in almost always superior to that obtained with butter and, provided you avoid the hydogenated stuff, lard is actually healthier (less unhealthy?) than the yellow stuff.

Look for pure lard at artisanal, Latino and Portuguese butchers. It can also be ordered online. It's easy enough to make your own. The best fat for rendering is indeed the fat around the kidneys (it's called leaf fat) but any relatively pure fat will do.

Yes, it creams like butter. Well, actually more like shortening.

I use it in pie crusts (often with butter) and crackers. It's also the best fat for browning pork. And in a pinch, I use it to strech duck fat when making confit.

#98 Abra

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Posted 22 March 2005 - 11:43 PM

I make pastry crust with lard and it's excellent. The boxed lard, however, is nasty stuff. You need to render your own, and regular white pork fat works just fine. My homemade lard is quite soft, even straight from the fridge, and I think it would be too soft for cookies, unless spreading cookies was what you had in mind. With home rendered lard there's no discernible pork flavor, it's just a little sweet and nutty.

#99 SuzySushi

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:41 AM

My sister sometimes uses lard in baking as she is allergic to dairy products. She's on vacation for a week but I can email her your questions when she gets back.
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#100 jackal10

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:59 AM

Isn't lard the same as Suet, just not shredded?
You can buy lard, and shredded suet in packets in any supermarket in the UK.
Lots of uses, and some things, like suet crust or steamed puddings or lardy cakes would not be the same without it...

#101 andiesenji

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 02:09 AM

If there is a Vallarta Supermercado near you, go to the meat department and in the case where you see packaged bacon, smoked ham hocks and etc., you will find packages of fresh lard. It is far superior to the stuff in the boxes (or larger buckets) and is reasonably priced (89 cents a pound on the package I just bought).
You can render your own but it can be tricky to get it so it is not granular. You have to chill it rapidly while stirring with a whisk to get the very fine texture which is desirable for use in baking.
I place a large stainless bowl in an ice bath and have someone helping me gradually pour the melted lard into the bowl while I whisk it. I wear protective gloves and an apron because it will pop a bit as moisture condenses on the interior of the bowl.
You have to ask for leaf lard for rendering your own. It is superior to the regular fat.
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#102 carswell

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 06:09 AM

Isn't lard the same as Suet, just not shredded?
You can buy lard, and shredded suet in packets in any supermarket in the UK.
Lots of uses, and some things, like suet crust or steamed puddings or lardy cakes would not be the same without it...

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Suet is rendered beef or mutton fat. Lard is rendered pork fat. I guess the fat could be shredded before melting, though it's usually chopped or ground.

In North America, most of the lard sold in supermarkets is partially hydrogenated and adulterated with preservatives. While hydrogentation keeps the lard solid at room temperatures, it also creates trans fats (bad). Artisanal lard is pure unhydrongenated rendered pork fat.

#103 Abra

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 08:22 AM

That's funny, Andie. I've never whipped nor chilled my lard, and it's always creamy and smooth.

#104 ludja

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 09:26 AM

Lard is traditionally used in bizchochitios; the New Mexican State cookie: recipe and background. ( a great cookie flavored with anise and rolled in cinnamon sugar).
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#105 TurtleMeng

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 11:32 AM

I think it might be too much work for me to render my own. Don't know if there is a Vallarta market around, will have to search (I'm near Pasadena), but 99 cents a pound sounds very reasonable.

Being Chinese, I should know how to render my own fat (no pun intended), but I am lazy.

So many Asian pastries call for lard. They taste much better with it.
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#106 sheetz

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 02:54 PM

I use the stuff from the box cause I don't know where to get the good stuff locally. I normally use it in a 1:4 ratio with butter in pie crusts and that works pretty well. One of these days I'll have to find the good stuff and make those Chinese pastries like wife cakes that I grew up eating. The best almond cookies are made with lard.

#107 chefpeon

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 03:26 PM

You can mail order leaf lard from D'Angelo Bros. . Although the website doesn't mention fat, according to Saveur Magazine, it is available from them for $2.49 per pound with a 2 lb minimum order.

You can also buy it from Dietrich's Meats....a one lb tub is $1.00. Their number is 610-756-6344.
I can attest to the superiority of leaf lard.....now I will use nothing else in my pie dough....besides butter of course! :smile:

#108 sheetz

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 03:50 PM

You can mail order leaf lard from D'Angelo Bros. . Although the website doesn't mention fat, according to Saveur Magazine, it is available from them for $2.49 per pound with a 2 lb minimum order.

You can also buy it from Dietrich's Meats....a one lb tub is $1.00. Their number is 610-756-6344.
I can attest to the superiority of leaf lard.....now I will use nothing else in my pie dough....besides butter of course! :smile:

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Thanks. Is shipping very high? Does leaf lard have to be refrigerated?

#109 Shalmanese

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 03:53 PM

The main advantage of rendering your own is you get lovely cracklings afterwards. I always done it on the stovetop but I hear that you can put it in a low oven with 1 inch of water and it will render without intervention after a few hours.
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#110 fifi

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 04:32 PM

Since recipeGullet isn't up yet (It's coming, promise.) I will copy the lard methods here:

Rendering your own lard produces a wonderful product that is not "bad" for you. It is not the same thing at all as that brick of nasty white stuff you see on the grocery shelf. That stuff is hydrogenated, contains a lot of trans fats, and tastes like plastic to me. Fresh lard is a different product altogether. You have to refrigerate it or you can freeze it. It keeps forever that way. Do put it in a glass jar, though, as it can pick up other flavors from the refrigerator or freezer. I keep mine in the refrigerator because it is easier to dip out. I have used the top of the stove method for chicken and duck fat.

2—5 lb White pork fat (ask your butcher)

Chill the fat in the freezer to make it easier to cut. Cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes. I lean toward the smaller size but it isn't critical. The quantities given above do not matter. I just make whatever I am willing to cut up. For either method use a very heavy pot. I like to use my Le Creuset French oven because the light colored interior makes it easier to see the color develop.

Top of the stove method:

Put 1/2 to 3/4 inch of water in the pot and add the cubed fat. Do not cover. Start on medium to medium low heat. The water will cook off and gets the fat melting a little faster. Stir occasionally throughout the process. Before the bits of fat start to brown, dip off the clear fat. This is a light and mild lard that is good for baking where you don't want pork flavor. Continue to cook until the cubes start to brown. You want to go slow so that the cubes toast evenly. Pour off the amber liquid. This is the product that you want for savory cooking. Don't throw away the bottom dregs of lard and all of the brown bits. This is "asiento". It is used as a savory spread on corn tortillas or bread. This method takes quite a while but doesn't require a lot of attention. Just go slow at first if you want the light stuff for baking. You end up with three products.

Oven method:

This one is really easy. Just put the fat in the pot with the lid on to start and put it in the oven at about 300F or a little lower. Stir occasionally. When it starts to render, take the lid off. Pour off the lard and save the asiento. Again, you want to go kind of slow here so that the cubes toast and don't burn.

For either method, strain out the cracklin's to eat as a guilty treat, add to corn bread, or use as a sprinkle on salads.

The picture shows the three products, white lard, tan lard, asiento, and of course the cracklin's. (Maybe that is four.)

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#111 chefpeon

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 09:31 PM

Thanks. Is shipping very high? Does leaf lard have to be refrigerated?


I don't think you HAVE to refrigerate leaf lard, but it will last a lot longer if you do. Besides
I prefer it to be cold for most of the applications I use it in anyway.

Shipping prices are usually determined by weight. The more you order at once, the higher
your shipping price will be. Then of course there's the type of shipping the establishment
chooses, and how much they choose to charge you for "handling".

#112 TurtleMeng

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Posted 23 March 2005 - 11:46 PM

If there is a Vallarta Supermercado near you, go to the meat department

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Hi Andie, are you still there? Where is your Vallarta market? I could not find one around here. I will ask my nurses since they know all the Mexican markets.
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#113 emmapeel

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 12:14 AM

Since recipeGullet isn't up yet (It's coming, promise.) I will copy the lard methods here:

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Fifi, thanks for the recipe and instruction. The photos are excellent for giving me a clear idea about the process. (I'm sure my cracklins aren't gonna make it into any dish. :laugh: )

Edited by emmapeel, 24 March 2005 - 12:16 AM.

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#114 sheetz

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 12:58 PM

I don't think you HAVE to refrigerate leaf lard, but it will last a lot longer if you do. Besides
I prefer it to be cold for most of the applications I use it in anyway.

Shipping prices are usually determined by weight. The more you order at once, the higher
your shipping price will be. Then of course there's the type of shipping the establishment
chooses, and how much they choose to charge you for "handling".


I was talking about the lard being refrigerated during shipping, which would make shipping expenses much higher. Packing the fat with dry ice might push the shipping costs over $20.

In any case, I called around and found a local butcher that still does their own slaughtering. They slaughter the hogs once a week, and they told me if I call the day before, they will reserve however much leaf lard I want and sell it to me for only 69 cents a pound!

#115 Misa

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 03:46 PM

I've never rendered my own lard before, but I've been told that it stinks up your kitchen for days and days... and smells really horrible.

Was somebody just trying to be funny, or is that true?

#116 Shalmanese

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 07:07 PM

I've never noticed any particularly unpleasant smell.
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#117 Tepee

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 07:45 PM

Isn't lard the same as Suet, just not shredded?
You can buy lard, and shredded suet in packets in any supermarket in the UK.
Lots of uses, and some things, like suet crust or steamed puddings or lardy cakes would not be the same without it...

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I've often wondered what suet was as it comes up in some recipes. Now, I know it looks like lard, but why shredded? Tried to google for pictures but couldn't find any. Does shredded mean it's like flakes? :huh:
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#118 battlepanda

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 07:55 PM

I only remember my grandmother doing this...I don't think it stunk up the kitchen that much. Then again, she had an old fashioned (non open plan) kitchen so smells are less of an issue. I remember she gave me some sugar to dip the warm cracklings into. Sounds gross now, but back then I thought it was really, really good.

#119 andiesenji

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 08:14 PM

If there is a Vallarta Supermercado near you, go to the meat department

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Hi Andie, are you still there? Where is your Vallarta market? I could not find one around here. I will ask my nurses since they know all the Mexican markets.

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Here is the store locator for Vallarta;Vallarta supermarkets

I don't know what you are near.
Gigante is another Hispanic supermarket chain. There is one in Pico Rivera and one in Anaheim, besides the ones in the Valley.
They don't have a web site with their store locations listed but you can look in your local white pages to see if they are listed in your area.

The produce at Vallarta is exceptional, the prices are amazing, compared to regular markets.
The price of lemons and limes is especially good.
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#120 Misa

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Posted 24 March 2005 - 10:48 PM

Thanks for the responses about the smell (or rather, lack of smell).