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claire797

Using Lard in Pastry

179 posts in this topic

A few years ago, I bought my first package of lard. As I put it in the basket, I felt almost sleazy -- as if everyone was staring at me. Nevertheless, I just had to try a particular gingersnap recipe (it's in the archive now, by the way) of which the secret ingredient was lard. The cookies were worth it. The texture was sublime and co-workers raved. I didn't bother to mention the lard, and if I had, I wonder if anyone would have had second thoughts about eating the cookies.

Would you?

Do you use lard? How do you use it?

The gingersnap recipe is the only recipe where I've found lard to make a significant difference, though I suspect lard is key to other particularly good recipes. Any thoughts?

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Lard is supposed to be particularly good in making flaky pie crusts, although I tried it once and prefer butter. The lard I used (Armour, I think) had a weird granulated texture, like little lumps in the lard, which made me think that it was old or had something wrong with it.

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I didn't bother to mention the lard, and if I had, I wonder if anyone would have had second thoughts about eating the cookies. 

Would you?

:shock:

Oy vey.

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:shock:

Oy vey.

Let's hear it for the Goy :biggrin:


Living hard will take its toll...

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Lard is supposed to be particularly good in making flaky pie crusts, although I tried it once and prefer butter.

Evidently even buttery pie crusts will improve in texture if some lard or "shortening" is included with the butter. I guess all fat is shortening but Crisco is a brand name of what I mean by "shortening." I think we've gone though a time when such hydrongenated oils were considered healthier than lard or butter. I don't think you'll find anyone who's paid attention lately recommending using a hydrogenated trans fatty shortening over lard for health reasons.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Lard is supposed to be particularly good in making flaky pie crusts, although I tried it once and prefer butter. The lard I used (Armour, I think) had a weird granulated texture, like little lumps in the lard, which made me think that it was old or had something wrong with it.

The quality of the lard can make a big difference. I can't imagine using those greasy, mealy bricks from the supermarket. I always get mine at Faicco's Pork Shop on Bleeker Street... keeps well in ther freezer.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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You can get 25 gallon buckets of lard from the Nahunta Pork Outlet here in Raleigh. If I brought one of those home, Mrs. Varmint might divorce me. Oh, but wouldn't the biscuits be grand???


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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You can get 25 gallon buckets of lard from the Nahunta Pork Outlet here in Raleigh.  If I brought one of those home, Mrs. Varmint might divorce me.  Oh, but wouldn't the biscuits be grand???

I bet you could hide it in a cool spot in the basement and Mrs. Varmint would never know... Slap a label on that baby that says something like "organic tile caulk." :wink:

Can you imagine deep frying chicken in pure lard? :droooooooooool:


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I didn't bother to mention the lard, and if I had, I wonder if anyone would have had second thoughts about eating the cookies. 

Would you?

:shock:

Oy vey.

Interesting reaction.

Note: None of my co-workers were vegetarians. Had that been the case, I would have said. BTW. These cookies contain lard.

Vegetarianism aside, I doubt lard is any worse for you healthwise than the hydrogenated oils that are in just about, oh, everything.

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I didn't bother to mention the lard, and if I had, I wonder if anyone would have had second thoughts about eating the cookies. 

Would you?

:shock:

Oy vey.

Interesting reaction.

Note: None of my co-workers were vegetarians. Had that been the case, I would have said. BTW. These cookies contain lard.

I suspect none of them kept a kosher diet either. :biggrin: Had that been the case, I am sure you would have said "BTW. These cookies contain lard" and they in turn would have replied "oy vey."

Vegetarianism aside, I doubt lard is any worse for you healthwise than the hydrogenated oils that are in just about, oh, everything.

I suspect it's really a much healthier choice.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I didn't bother to mention the lard, and if I had, I wonder if anyone would have had second thoughts about eating the cookies. 

Would you?

:shock:

Oy vey.

Interesting reaction.

Note: None of my co-workers were vegetarians. Had that been the case, I would have said. BTW. These cookies contain lard.

I suspect none of them kept a kosher diet either. :biggrin: Had that been the case, I am sure you would have said "BTW. These cookies contain lard" and they in turn would have replied "oy vey."

Vegetarianism aside, I doubt lard is any worse for you healthwise than the hydrogenated oils that are in just about, oh, everything.

I suspect it's really a much healthier choice.

No one in my group kept kosher. That's for sure. :biggrin:

Also, I suspect that anyone following a kosher diet wouldn't bother with any food brought into the office by another co-worker.

And now I'm off to research the health benefits of lard.....

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And now I'm off to research the health benefits of lard.....

I didn't mean to imply it was so healthy that there's a minimum daily requirement. :laugh:


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I've had very good results with a lard/butter mixture in my pie crusts, just make sure to chill first or it's almost unmanagable.

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You can get 25 gallon buckets of lard from the Nahunta Pork Outlet here in Raleigh.  If I brought one of those home, Mrs. Varmint might divorce me.  Oh, but wouldn't the biscuits be grand???

Yeah, and at least half the time I go there they're buy one get one free.

However the lard from Nahunta is of a surprisingly bad quality. I've tried using it for pie crusts among other things and it's very... assertive.

Ben

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From what I've read, those blocks of lard found in supermarkets are not very good for pie crust. The flavor was described as "harsh and unpleasant" and the texture wasn't as good as Crisco. What you really want is something called "leaf lard" which is from around the kidneys of the pig. Much better texture and lighter flavor.

Disclaimer: I've never cooked or baked with lard, so this is all second-hand info.

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You can get 25 gallon buckets of lard from the Nahunta Pork Outlet here in Raleigh.  If I brought one of those home, Mrs. Varmint might divorce me.  Oh, but wouldn't the biscuits be grand???

Yeah, and at least half the time I go there they're buy one get one free.

However the lard from Nahunta is of a surprisingly bad quality. I've tried using it for pie crusts among other things and it's very... assertive.

Ben

That doesn't surprise me at all, as Nahunta is what it says it is: an outlet. The place is not for the faint of heart.

As far as lard is concerned, I don't know that much about the best means of making it. If there's a lard expert out there, please enlighten us. Nightscotsman has started us down the right path, but we need more info!


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I always use a 50/50 mix of good lard and butter when making shortcrust pastry, it gives it a really crisp finish.

I generally don't use it for sweet pastry though.

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There was an article in Saveur about leaf lard not long ago.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I like lard! :biggrin:

In Japan they sell it in these neat squeeze bottles (looks just like Kewpie mayo--hope no one confuses them!)

eeeww..........


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Praise the Lard! (and pass the flaky pie crust)

I've also found that a mix of lard and butter gives a nice texture, but the taste can be strong, especially for any sort of sweet pastry. I should try getting hold of some of that leaf lard...

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In Japan they sell it in these neat squeeze bottles (looks just like Kewpie mayo--hope no one confuses them!)

What do they use squeeze-lard for?

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In Japan they sell it in these neat squeeze bottles (looks just like Kewpie mayo--hope no one confuses them!)

And what do they put in it to make it squeezable?

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As far as lard is concerned, I don't know that much about the best means of making it.  If there's a lard expert out there, please enlighten us.  Nightscotsman has started us down the right path, but we need more info!

I'm not an expert, but I do make my own lard (mostly for use when I make tortillas.) The stuff in the store is awful. It's fairly simple to make, but takes some time. The main thing is to start with leaf fat. The new Joy of Cooking has a good piece on making lard that will get you started (p. 1069.)

Also, I just found this article after doing a Google search and it explains things about the same as I make lard. "EasyFunSchool" :smile: (the site) has a better explanation than the other sites I looked at.

I use a cast iron kettle and the hardest part is getting the first bit of fat to melt. After that melts and gets hot just keep adding more without trying to push things too much.

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In Japan they sell it in these neat squeeze bottles (looks just like Kewpie mayo--hope no one confuses them!)

What do they use squeeze-lard for?

The Japanese use lard in a lot of dishes of Chinese origin, especially in gyoza, steamed buns, ramen and fried rice, I guess the squeeze bottles make it easier for the home cook.

I searched yahoo Japan and couldn't come up with a picture or information, just hundreds of recipes that call for the tubed lard!

I am not sure what company puts it out, guess this means a trip to the supermarket! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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