Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Greased Up and Ready to Bake!

One thing my friends, family, acquaintances and children's teachers know about me is that I love to bake. My favourite things to bake include the perfect chocolate chip cookie, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls, chewy & fudgey brownies, and soft & delicate cupcakes.

My husband does not appreciate those desserts. He loves apple pie. It is his favourite dessert. Since I love my husband and feel compelled to bake for him every so often, I set off on a quest to find a great pastry crust. In my search, I came across this page from The Pioneer Woman's website. The long and short of it is that leaf lard is the best lard for making a pie crust. If Ree Drummond and her friends say that leaf lard is the best, then I needed to get some.

I don't know how things work in other countries, but here in Canada, I can't just go to the grocery store and pick up some leaf lard. After asking several people who should know, I googled it. It turns out that leaf lard is actually the fat of a pig, taken specifically from the pig's kidneys. This is supposed to be the best fat to use for pastries as it has the most neutral taste. My search led me to realize that I needed to make my own leaf lard. How in the world does one make leaf lard???

After more searching I put together a few ideas and set out to make my own lard. Here is my process:
  1. Call butcher and ask for the fat to make leaf lard.
  2. Explain to the butcher what fat you need to make leaf lard.
  3. Call back to ask if the leaf lard is in.
  4. Explain to the new person what leaf lard is.
  5. Go in to the butcher shop to pick up fat for leaf lard.
  6. Explain once more what leaf lard is.
  7. Find out that there is no leaf lard in the store.
  8. Go away for a weekend.
  9. Let your husband get the call to pick up and freeze the hunk of pig fat he now owns.
  10. Thaw fat and cut it into chunks.
  11. Put chunks through meat grinder of food processor.
  12. Realize that your husband took the camera and you can't take any pictures.
  13. Put ground fat into a large, oven-safe pot and let it heat up at 200 F.
  14. Pour melted fat through cheesecloth into a clean bowl.
  15. Pour strained, liquid fat into canning jars.
  16. Allow fat to cool.
  17. Pat yourself on the back because you just made leaf lard!
I recommend you skip a few of those steps. Since this was my first time, I'm certain I'll be a little more efficient next time. And I'll try to document it in pictures next time.

Now I need to go apple picking so I can bake that apple pie finally!

P.S.  I grabbed the camera once he got home and took this picture, just for you!  The lard on the left came out first and so on until you get to the lard on the right, which came out last.  The first lard is purer with less pork flavour.


  1. You are amazing Wanda! You are the neighborhood Pioneer Woman. Pic your own apples, make your own lard, next you'll be grinding your own flour and harvesting sugar cane :)

  2. I live in the south and have never heard of leaf fat before. You are brave to make your own. I would love to hear how your pastries turn out!