Elisa and I usually share pie making duty–Elisa makes the fillings, and I make the crusts. So I’m including a crust recipe and a filling recipe here. Before I start listing ingredients, first a word about lard. Lard was commonly used as an ingredients in pie crusts up until the second half of the twentieth century, when health concerns drove people to substitute other kinds of fat, such as vegetable oil, margarine, vegetable shortening, butter, and so on. The problem with these substitutions is that lard brings an important attribute to the party. Lard has quite large fat molecules when compared to the various things that can be substituted for it, and the large molecules give pie crusts a level of flakiness that is pretty much impossible to get otherwise. And pound for pound, lard is no less healthy than butter.
My crust recipe uses a combination of butter and lard–butter to produce a flavor profile that lard cannot duplicate, and lard to achieve that nice flaky crust that is a worthy goal for every baker. Don’t be afraid to give lard a try the next time you make a pie crust–I promise you’ll love the results. And if you happen to want to try a similar pie crust recipe, that also uses chilled Vodka and shortening in addition to the ingredients of this crust, give my Vodka Pie Dough recipe a try!
Pie dough (enough for a top and bottom, with a bit to spare)
||all purpose flour|
|1 1/2 tsp.||kosher salt|
||golden delicious apples, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 8 wedges|
||cranberries, fresh or frozen|
||orange zest, finely grated|
|2 Tbsp.||instant tapioca|
||egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of milk|
- Slice butter and lard into 1/4 inch slices and put in freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
- Add butter and lard to flour mixture and blend in with a pastry cutter until it looks pebbly. Do not overwork the pie dough, as you will end up with a tough crust if you do.
- Add ice water gradually and incorporate into mixture until it holds together when squeezed.
- Divide dough into a larger half and a smaller half (bottom and top crusts, respectively) and flatten each into a one-inch circular disk. Put each disk into a plastic storage back and refrigerate for at least one hour (two hours or overnight is best).
- Remove dough from refrigerator. Sprinkle both sides with flour. Roll out the larger disk of dough with a rolling pin to form an 11- to 12-inch circular pie shell. Line a nine-inch pie pan with the pie shell and remove the excess. Dock the dough (i.e., pierce with a fork at intervals along the bottom) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
- If you haven’t already preheated your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit, do so now.
- In a large bowl, toss together the apples, cranberries, orange zest, sugar, salt, and instant tapioca. Put the filling in the pie shell. Brush the edges of the pie shell with the egg & milk mixture.
- Roll out the second disk of pie dough as you did the first. Cover the pie with the second pie shell and, using a sharp knife, create four or five vent holes so that steam can escape.
- Place pie in middle rack of oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees fahrenheit and bake for forty minutes more. When there is about a half hour remaining, you may want to loosely cover the pie with foil so that the top crust does not burn.
- Allow pie to cool on a rack for twenty minutes and serve.