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Great Grandma’s Lard Pie Crust

Thanks for sharing!

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.

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

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.

pie crust rolled into a circle on a silicone mat.

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. 

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. 

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

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. 

Lard pie crust in pan with crimped edges, ready for filling.

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.

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

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

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
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

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

Making the Dough

  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.
  6. For the flakiest crust, put the crust lined pie plate back in the refrigerator for another 15 minutes. Or go ahead and proceed to bake according to your pie filling's instructions.

Blind Baking the Crust

  1. To bake the pie shell without fillings, preheat oven to 425°F. 
  2. Prick the crust a few times with a fork, then line with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 12 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove paper or foil and weights then ake 8 to 10 minutes more for a partially baked crust, or for a fully baked crust 10 to 12 minutes longer until golden brown.

Notes

  • This is enough for a single pie crust. Double the recipe for a double crust pie.
  • You can make pie crust dough ahead of time if you want. Store the disk of wrapped dough in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze it up to three months. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.
  • Using a good quality rendered lard will make for the best pie crust. If it's not by the shortening or butter, you may ask at the meat counter or at a local butcher shop.

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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.

Thanks for sharing!

Ronnie

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

Perfect apple pies. Thank you

Carlee

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

I am glad you liked it!

Tom

Monday 21st of November 2022

KUDOS ! Pastry chef here. This is the real deal. I’ve argued this to my French counterpart. He thinks a Pate Brissee is better. I’ve done both, liked both, but if done right, theres nothing flakier than this. Or more simple. Caveat! If one uses butter instead, use less water , there’s already water ( 20% ) in butter.

Carlee

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

Well thank you!

Bessie

Sunday 20th of November 2022

This recipe is very similar to that in our Fannie Farmer cookbook. Tried it for the first time last week. It made the best pie crust for my homemade sweet potato pie. No more yucky store bought crust! I've loved the use of lard in my cooking since my mom and stepdad introduced it. Lard also makes some of the best biscuits!! Yummy :p .... my only downfall is getting the techniques down for working with this dough, less is definitely more it seems. Happy Thanksgiving

Carlee

Sunday 20th of November 2022

I am so glad you like it and yes, the less you handle the dough the better. I am on the lookout for a perfect lard biscuit recipe if you are willing to share.

jean

Monday 7th of November 2022

how about adding one or two table spoon of suga\r?sugar, is 350 f good. I make rasberry pies

Carlee

Tuesday 8th of November 2022

I don't see why you couldn't add sugar. In fact, that would be fun to try. If you add too much, it could make the dough hard to work with, but a tablespoon or two should be great. If you normally bake your raspberry pie at 350F, it should work great with this crust. It behaves like most normal pie crusts. Now I wish I had a slice of raspberry pie!

Gary

Saturday 5th of November 2022

This recipe doesn't specify cooking temperature for this pie crust!

Carlee

Sunday 6th of November 2022

That was done on purpose because it depends so much on what you are doing with it. The fillings usually determine the bake time, but you are right that it would be helpful to add information for a blind bake at least. I am adding that to the recipe card now. Thank you for pointing that out.

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