Make it Yourself...Lard Pie Crust

This recipe is the basic pie crust recipe in the "Farm Journal Busy Woman’s Cookbook 1961".  It’s one that I use most often, as I can purchase non-hydrogenated lard from a nearby locker plant if my brother-in-law, Don, hasn’t given me some from processing their meat.  Packaged lard in the store is hydrogenated, and I don’t recommend it.
I like the crispness that lard gives a crust, and I don’t find it to be hard to handle.  I do keep my lard in the refrigerator so it’s very cold, (some cooks even freeze it for pie crust) and use ice water.  I also chill my dough for a least a half hour or so before I roll it out, which relaxes the gluten and keeps it from shrinking.  I often make it a day ahead of my pie baking and keep it chilled in patties until I’m ready to roll it out.
This recipe is very basic – it assumes the farm wife knows how to make pastry already, and they didn’t even mention rolling it out.  I cut in my lard to the size of peas, because I like flaky pastry; one of my home economics teachers years ago taught us to cut in half the fat to the size of coarse crumbs and then cut in the rest to the size of peas – you get both tender and flaky pastry.  When you place your pastry in the pan, smooth it in gently, don't stretch it, so it doesn't shrink when you bake it.

                  Farm Journal Pie Crust
1 Crust
2 Crusts
1 Cup
2 cups
Sifted All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon
1 Teaspoon
Teaspoon  Salt
1/3 Cup
2/3 Cup
Cold Lard
2 Tablespoons
4-5 Tablespoons
Cold Water
Mix sifted flour and salt; cut in lard with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle on the water and mix with a fork until all the flour is moistened.  Gather the dough together and press firmly into a ball. 
The 2 crust amount makes crust for 1 (8-9" double crust pie), 2 (8-9" pie shells), 8 (4" tart shells), 1 (9" or 10" lattice top pie).
Freezing pie shells:  Freeze shells baked or unbaked.  They will keep for 6 months.  Freeze unbaked pastry in circles with a double fold of waxed paper between.  To use, remove pastry circle from freezer and fit into pans as soon as the dough can be handled.  Quick freeze baked shells in pie pans; remove from freezer and quickly package.

*Add ¼ cup finely chopped nuts to the pastry for a one crust pie.  Perfect for cream and custard pies.


  1. Hi, Enjoyed your comments on lard, but now, I wondering if my lard by "Morrell, Snow Cap Manteca" is non-hydrogenated lard or
    hydrogenated lard. Do you know? I bought this with the intention of using it for pie crusts. I know I wouldn't use Crisco for this project. Though I do like to use Crisco for some of the fat in cookies. It is my least favorite fat, but it does hold the cookie shape.
    Thanks for any help and comments. M

    1. The information below is from the labeling information for your lard from the Walmart website. The bottom line is, yes, it is hydrogenated.
      However, that probably is not any worse than using hydrogenated shortening. I have purchased nonhydrogenated lard from our nearest Amish grocery and you can sometimes buy it from meat lockers or markets. One brand I have purchased is Western's Smokehouse from Greentop, Missouri. It is pure pork lard, not hydrogenated.

      John Morrell Manteca Snow Cap Lard:
      • Great for preparing pastries
      • U.S. inspected and passed by Department of Agriculture
      Lard Hydrogenated, BHT, BHA to Protect Flavor.

  2. I have looked through the tiny town I live in for non-hydrogenanted lard and can't find it, do you know if I can order it on line and have it delivered to me in AZ? If so send me the link. Thanks.

    1. If you search online there are a couple of places that ship it...but it's very expensive. I paid $2.49 last month per pound at an Amish grocery nearby, which is pretty comparable to butter.
      You may want to search online for small meat processors in Arizona; some of them may sell lard they process themselves.
      Non-hydrogenated lard is not shelf-stable; it's usually frozen, so it's not easily shipped. You may be able to buy the pork fat and render your own, as my brother-in-law has.
      Otherwise, I would suggest butter and recipes using butter as a substitute.
      I guess that's an advantage we have here in "pork country".


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