Homemade Apple Pie

On Sunday I was looking for a recipe in which to use my newly rendered pork fat (aka. lard). I decided to make an apple pie using a lard/butter crust. I haven't had the best luck with my pie crusts because I use half whole wheat pastry flour which tends to leave them dense. I was anxious to see if the addition of lard would give me a flaky crust.

First I measured 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour and put both in my food processor. I added a pinch of sea salt (add a couple more pinches if you use unsalted butter).
Then I scooped out 6 tablespoons of lard (straight from the fridge) and added them into the food processor.

Then I added 6 tablespoons of cold butter cut into pats.

Pulse until the bits of lard and butter are about the size of peas. Keeping the little bits of butter/lard bigger is what gives you a flaky crust.

With the processor on, drizzle in (through the feed tube) about 1/4 cup of COLD water. Add a bit of extra water if the dough doesn't come together. The dough should be soft, not crumbly, when it's done. As soon as it comes together as a ball, stop the processor.

I formed the dough into 2 equal rounds, wrapped them in plastic wrap and let them rest in the fridge while I got the apples ready.

I washed 8-9 apples thoroughly since I didn't peel them. I used 5 granny smiths and 3 galas but use whatever apples you like.

I quartered and cored them and then I sliced them very thinly so their peels wouldn't be as noticeable in the finished pie. The peels contain most of the fiber in an apple so I like to keep them on whenever possible.
I tossed them with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and 2 tsp. of cornstarch.
Roll out one of the rounds of dough and line your pie plate with it. I sprayed the pan with a bit of cooking spray first.
Pile in the apples. Roll out the second round of dough and cover the pie with it.

Trim the edges and flute the edges. Cut a few vent holes in the top to let steam escape.

I baked this pie at 400* for about an hour or until the crust is nicely golden brown. Bake your pies near the bottom of your oven so the bottom crust always gets done instead of soggy.

The verdict... delicious! The crust was light and flaky. The crust around the edges broke easily under pressure instead of being hard and dense. I didn't even notice that the crust was half whole wheat. There was no pork flavor to the crust. Jon was really impressed.
The apples inside were a bit soft but I loved their sweet, tart flavor.
I'm not ashamed to say that I... well, maybe a little embarrassed to say... that I licked my plate when I was done. I tried to be sure that no one was looking first.

I wanted to elaborate a bit on lard and explain how it can fit into a healthy diet. I explained a little about it's health benefits in the last post and about how traditional fats are much better for you then modern ones. Keep in mind though that all fats are high in calories. The great thing about fat though is that it makes you feel satisfied. Eating a little of a full fat item (milk, cheese, etc.) can make you feel more satisfied then a larger portion of a fat-free or low-fat item. Another problem with fat-free or low-fat is that often the fats are replaced with sugars, salt and other chemicals, thickeners, and additives.
So, I'll include healthy fats like olive oil, lard, and butter in my family's diet in moderation. We eat mostly whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables so that we can eat our apple pie and not have to feel one bit guilty about it. Well, I might feel a bit guilty over licking the plate!