Makes two 9” pie crusts
2½ cups cold all purpose flour
8 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
8 tablespoons leaf lard (shortening or butter can be substituted)
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons ice water (and more if needed)
Place fats, flour and salt in mixing bowl and work the fats into the flour by cutting it in with forks, knives or a traditional pastry cutter. Once the fats have been incorporated a bit, further manipulate the fats into the flour with your fingers. Continue until the fat is in smaller size bits, roughly larger pea size—some bigger, some smaller. Use your hands as little as possible to avoid warming the dough.
Add 6 tablespoons of water and work it around the flour and fat. Next add the remaining tablespoons of water, one at a time, until the dough stays together and forms a ball. Work the dough quickly, squeezing with your hands until it holds together.
Cut the ball in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Place your palm on the top of the wrap and gently press down to shape each half into a disk about 1½” thick. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. The dough can also be refrigerated and used the next day.
Tip 1: Keep the flour, lard, butter, the pastry cloth and even the mixing bowl in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Tip 2: Leaf lard may be ordered from several area farms including Rehoboth Ranch, Sloans Creek Farm, Burgundy Pasture Beef and Texas Daily Harvest. The fat must then be rendered into lard for cooking. The process is simple but slow. Cube 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of leaf lard and place in stockpot with ½ cup water. Cook on very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. After about 45 minutes, the fat will begin popping and the remaining solids (cracklings) will begin to sink to the bottom of the pot. Using a ladle, strain the liquid through cheesecloth and store in jars. Place in refrigerator overnight to allow it to solidify.
KELLY YANDELL is a writer and photographer based in Dallas. She has contributed to Edible Dallas & Fort Worth since 2011. Her website (themeaningofpie.com) celebrates practical dishes and comfort foods, while her photography portfolio can be found at kellyyandell.com. Kelly is an attorney and is the vice president of the Advisory Board of Foodways Texas, an organization founded by scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of the state of Texas who have made it their mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.