This recipe has been requested by some of my friends (Claire- this is for you!), generally after I’ve had them over for dinner & dessert with pastry involved, whether it be a chicken pot pie, tourtière, or one of my famous fruit pies. (exemplified here in a tourtière)
Before we get started with the recipe, I just want to state that this pastry is not the most picture perfect, glossy, thick pastry. This is a SUPER tender and melt in your mouth pastry, that can be used for the most delicate pies- but that I love so much that I still use for my meat pies and quiches. It is very very tender and delicious, but it will not look like what you generally see on the Thanksgiving magazine covers with the super smooth, glossy top with thick edge- but I LOVE IT!, WAY more than what I think are more ‘tough’ pastries. Anyways. I hope you enjoy it- As you can tell pastry is close to my heart- and this is a recipe that has been passed down from my grandma and is somewhat of a family special tradition. I hope you enjoy it too!
My Pie Crust
This is very simple recipe. You can make a full batch using a full block of lard which would be enough for approximately 3 pies with tops or 5 pies without tops and some little tarts- it really depends on how thick you roll it (the thinner the better). Or you can make a half-batch, which would be a good amount to make one pie with a top or two pies without tops, with some extra maybe to make some jam tarts :).
For the full batch:
1 lb of lard (tenderflake), cold and cubed
4 1/2 cups of flour (plus flour for dusting your rolling surface and rolling pin)
Using a pastry blender, cut the lard and flour until it takes on a crumb texture. Alternatively you can use a food processor – but be VERY CAREFUL to not over-mix!!
When you have a nice crumb consistency, add a little bit of ice water (without the actual pieces of ice) and mix with a big spoon bringing it together- keep adding a little bit of water here and there and only mix until it JUST comes together loosely- it will still be crumbly and NOT a smooth dough- you want it only just holds together.
For a bottom crust, push together a ball of pastry a bit smaller than two fists – dust your work surface with flour (I like to work on wax paper), and dust your rolling pin aswell. Roll out your dough to about 1/4″ thick- it can be tricky to work with , but I promise it will be the most tender, flaky and melt in your mouth pastry. If you have any tears or holes you can patch them up by pressing little filler pieces into holes. I like to lift up the wax paper under my pastry and us it to fold the pastry into quarters and then place it in the pie shell and unfold it- to reduce tears- this pastry is delicate!
For ease, I like to do my pie tops with little pieces that I roughly shape into leaves, or cut it into strips to do lattice. You can also use cookie cutters for any shape you want- or you can just roll a normal flat top- whatever you like. With the leaves you can always use your pastry scraps from tarts or the pie shells- then you don’t have to re-roll (which will make it tough). The one rule that I generally go by with this pastry is: the more difficult it is being and the more frustrated I get- the more tender it will probably end up- so don’t worry about it- go for the taste not the looks!
I use this pastry for pretty much all pastry needs, be it chicken pot pie or pecan pie. My general rule for pie cooking times is 15 minutes at 375 F, then 30 minutes at 350 F. I find it gives it the perfect golden brown top.
I hope you like this pastry recipe and that it becomes as much of a favourite to you as it is to me! I used this pastry in my tourtière recipe I just posted, which you can check out here!
Have a lovely Christmas Eve Eve!