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Great Grandma’s Lard Pie Crust

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This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma’s recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

apple pie with golden homemade lard pie crust.

If the perfect pie crust is on your baking bucket list, you have to give this recipe a try. After a long search, we finally have my great grandma’s recipe for the pie crust she was so famous for. Luckily we are all the beneficiaries of her decades of experience. Please give it a try for yourself. 

Is there a certain food that instantly makes you think of your grandmother? For my mom, that food is pie.

Her dad’s mother lived in rural Indiana. So visiting was always such a treat for her and her Chicago suburbanite siblings. 

My mom has tried so many pie crusts over the years trying to find one that rivals hers. She has stumbled upon some good ones like her flaky pie crust and even a chocolate pie crust.

Even though they were absolutely great, they just weren’t grandma’s pie crust. Then finally she got the recipe from her cousin.

We finally had it! So you think there would be instant pie, right?

Not quite.

flour, lard, salt and ice water ready to be made into pie crust.

Good lard makes all of the difference 

The key to a great pie crust is using good ingredients. There are so few things in there, the flavor of each one makes a big difference. 

My mom remembers going with her grandma to the butcher to get the lard for her crust. She said “if you don’t have the right lard, it’s not worth making a pie.” 

Leaf lard is the most prized lard around. It is super white and sourced from around the kidneys and loins of the pig.

pastry cutter cutting lard into flour for pie crust.

So we waited until we had the good stuff. MiMi rendered leaf lard from pigs they raised on their little homestead farm.

It was finally time to make a pie. And it was worth the wait.

Of course you don’t have to render your own. Leaf lard is available, you may just need to put in a little effort to find it.

Good has a clean flavor and makes the flakiest pastry. It is worth going out of your way to find the good stuff.

ball of pie crust dough in bowl.

Lard, really?

Yes! Lard actually has a lot of advantages over other fats you could use in your pastry.

Lard blends easily, chills nicely and has such a silky feel in your hands as you work with the dough. It creates such perfect flakes in the crust.

It is easier to work with cold than butter and doesn’t melt as quickly. Plus it has less saturated fat and no trans fats unlike shortening. 

disks of pie crust dough wrapped in plastic wrap to chill.

Tips for a flaky crust

Getting a flaky crust depends on more than just using lard. Of course there are more tricks you can have in your arsenal. 

The first is the temperature of your ingredients. Using cold lard and water will help keep the fat from melting before you are ready.

Chilling the dough before you roll it and again before you bake it also helps. I like to pat it into disks before I chill it.

That makes it chill more evenly and you have a head start on rolling it out vs. chilling it as a ball. Of course working it as little as possible will help as well.

The notes on my great grandma’s recipe say to preheat a cookie sheet with the oven. Put the pie pan on the hot sheet pan.

The pan will not only catch any drips, but will also apply even heat across the bottom of the pie. It will help prevent that dreaded soggy bottom. 

pie crust rolled into a circle on a silicone mat.

It’s pie time!

I used this crust to make my great-grandma’s apple pie. That recipe is coming in a couple of days. 

It is the gold standard of pie’s in my mom’s eyes. She drove across town in snow and subzero temperatures to have a slice. Of course now we love it too. 

This pie would also make a great pot pie. Whip some up to make an extra tasty creamy chicken pot pie or ham and cheese pot pie

I can imagine great-grandma loving a good old fashioned sour cream and raisin pie. Or whip up a fun oatmeal pie for another fun treat. 

pie crust dough in pie pan, ready to be trimmed and filled.

Don’t forget to save those scraps and turn them into cinnamon sugar pie crust cookies! That is a great reward for making your own crust.

Yield: 12 Servings (Enough for a single 9" pie)

Great Grandma's Lard Pie Crust

pie crust dough in pie pan, ready to be trimmed and filled.

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup lard (leaf lard if you can find it)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons cold water

Instructions

  1. Stir together flour and salt.
  2. Cut in lard until you have a crumbly mixture.
  3. Add just enough water to make it come together into a dough.
  4. Pat into a flat disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least a half hour.
  5. Roll into a thin circle and fit into your pie pan.

Notes

This is enough for a single pie crust. Double the recipe for a double crust pie.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

This tender flaky lard pie crust recipe is straight from my great grandma's recipe box. It practically melts in your mouth.

Share with your friends!

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Amy

Thursday 25th of February 2021

I really need to try this. Pie Crust is not one of my baking fortes. My mother always bought pie crust and I think that that led me to believe that it must be difficult to make so I kind of have a mental block against making it. Thank you for the recipe.

Carlee

Thursday 25th of February 2021

I would like to get better at pie crusts as well. They really are pretty simple, I'm just not that great at making them pretty.

Sandy

Monday 22nd of February 2021

It means so much to me to have tasted my grandma’s pie crust again after so many years. After tasting it I felt like my grandma gave me a hug to go with it. It’s perfect!!!

Carlee

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

I am so glad we were finally able to make it!

Sandy

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Absolutely the best. The tip about heating the sheet pan is pure genius. Could this be the end of soggy pie crust?

Carlee

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Hopefully!

Andrea Nine

Monday 22nd of February 2021

There’s nothing like a good, flaky lard crust and this one is perfect! There is something about lard that definitely adds to the flakiness and that’s how I make my crust most of the time! Saving this recipe. Well, I save the majority of your recipes, lol

Carlee

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Thank you so much! I'll be honest, I normally just buy a crust and make the filling. But now that I know how good it can be, I am going to have to start making my own!

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