Food & Swine

Perfect Lard Pastry & Pear Pie


I couldn’t call this blog Food & Swine without giving you a fabulous recipe for Perfect Lard Pie Crust and a recipe for my favorite pie. Lard is my second favorite ‘pork product’ next to bacon so I had to share! Pie is something I haven’t been baking for very long because honestly, I never really liked pie too much.  Now I do, mostly because I’ve gained such an appreciation by just baking my own.  When you bake your own pie you feel like some sort of alchemist.  Pie is comforting, delicious and healing. I really should bake more pies!

We render our own lard around here (totally unnecessary) so I have lots of fresh lard to use in my pie crust. A total bonus of purchasing lard in the grocery store is the lower price. The flavor of this pastry will take you right back to your pie baking-Grandma’s kitchen.  The texture of lard based pie crust is so tender, I hope you’ll give it a try! *Full recipe at the end of the post.  *Full list of pastry preparation tips at the end of post after recipe.

This is a recipe for my FAVORITE pie ever.  Pear.  Yes, I said pear.  It is like apple, but better.  Trust me and bake it for your family soon!

Here’s my friend Lisa after she finished preparing her Harvest Pear Pie at my baking class this past November.


Here’s the baking table we use for classes, ready for pie baking classes!

BRB Pies

Harvest Pear Pie Crumble Topped Pie with Perfect Lard Pie Crust

by Cristen

Makes one 9” standard sized pie

Perfect Lard Pie Crust:  (Double this recipe if you desire a 2-crust pie instead of a crumble topped pie)

1 1/4 C All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Perfect Pastry Blend Flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp granulated sugar

1/2 C lard, frozen or well chilled, cubed into half inch cubes (You may sub unsalted butter here as well.  I couldn’t call my blog Food & Swine and use BUTTER in my pie crust comfortably!  Plus we render our own lard.  Bonus!)

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vinegar (apple cider or white)

3-4 TBSP ice water

Combine dry ingredients, whisk well.  Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form.  Combine wet ingredients, add them to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  This mixture is ready when you can grab a portion of it in your palm, squeeze and it sticks together.  Turn mixture out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disk.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  When ready to roll crust.  Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic.  Generously flour workspace, roll crust out to 13-14” disk.  Place in pie pan. Do not stretch.  Patch any imperfections (holes, etc.)  Roll excess crust under, crimp decoratively.  Return to refrigerator or prepare pie immediately.

*At this time after crust preparation, preheat your oven to 400 so it has time to get to temperature.


6 Bartlett Pears (firm yet ripe), peeled and sliced ¼” thickness

1/4 C flour

Pinch of salt

1 C granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional-lends a fruity note, people always ask ‘what’s that?’)

2 tsp lemon juice (if fruit is browning quickly)

1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Combine all ingredients, mix well.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Cover evenly with crumble. (Recipe follows).

Crumble Topping:

1/2 C room temperature butter

1/2 C sugar

1 C All Purpose flour

1/4 C rolled oats (oatmeal, not instant)

Cut all ingredients together until homogenous consistency.  Evenly distribute on top of pie.

BAKE:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (Make sure you wait for 10 minutes after your oven preheat beeps to say it is at temperature.)

Cover outside of pie with foil ring.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes until slow bubbles form in the juices around the edge of the pie.  Remove from oven, let cool 4 hours.  Add a nice drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and a sprinkle of sea salt if you are really adventurous!

**If previously frozen, do not thaw, simply bake pie at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and finish baking pie for 50-55 minutes until slow bubbles form in the juices around the edges of the pie.

** I have successfully taken a unbaked pie filled glass pie plate from freezer to oven and had no problems with the pie plate shattering or any other horrific thing that I’ve heard (you know those stories) BUT, just to be sure and careful I’ll recommend that you always bake in aluminum or tin if you plan on preparing and freezing your pies to bake at a later time.  The integrity of your crust will be best with plain old glass in my opinion, plus you can check the progress of the crust as well.

AND ABOVE ALL: Please DO let your fruit pies ‘rest’ for at least 4 hours without cutting into them.  Yes, you can certainly eat them warm, just be warned that they will not thicken properly.  It is best to make it early, let it set then re-warm the pie at 200 degrees or even in the microwave if necessary.

Food & Swine Lard Pastry Crust Basics:

Dry Ingredients:

*Pre Measure all flour, salt and sugar

*Sugar is optional in pie crust pastry.  It lightly browns the crust.

*Some people add 1 tsp of baking powder to their crust, I choose not to because I swear I can taste it!  Icky!

Fat of Choice:

*Typically the more difficult of a time you have preparing a crust, the more worthwhile it will be!

**Whatever fat is used it must be cubed and well CHILLED.

*May use butter (browner crust, flavorful, usually denser, somewhat less tender, easy to work with when rolling out.)

*May use shortening (blonde crust, less flavorful, light and flaky, tender, somewhat easy to work with when rolling out)

*My preference is lard (blonde crust, flavorful taste of lard pastry, lightest and flakiest, most tender, somewhat difficult to work with when rolling out)

*Combination of fats is also a possibility.

*FLOUR   to   FAT   ratio is suggested 2:1.  (ie: 2 Cups Flour to 1 Cup of fat)

Wet Ingredients:

*Ice Water to combine ingredients.  (The less water used yields a more tender crust.)

*Vinegar combined with the water will tenderize the crust.

*Use of eggs in crust, will deepen color of crust and assist in the ease of pastry incorporation.


*After dry ingredients are sifted, fat is ‘cut’ into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (pea sized).

*1 TBSP at a time, water is added until you can squeeze a TBSP size of the mixture in your hands and it holds together on its own.

*Do not over-work the pastry.  If you do, the pastry will become tough.  Less is more.

Helpful Hints:

*Chill ingredients well before beginning.

*Always use plenty of flour when rolling out your crust. (On board, rolling pin etc.)

*If crust is difficult to work with, return it to refrigerator for a brief chill before continuing.  The refrigerator is your friend, trust me!

If you are having a kitchen 911 or ever have any baking questions, I’ll do my best to help you!  Just leave a comment here or email me at


Previous Post Next Post


  • Reply Sherri Traviss Pike March 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    This just sounds too good to be true. I am going to have to try this recipe, I like you am more of a cake baker. But this crust recipe sounds too good to pass up. Thanks for all the great recipes and tips.

    • Reply Cristen March 6, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Sherri! I just love this pie, just give a holler and stop by and we’ll make it together someday! XOXO, Cristen

  • Reply colleen March 7, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Wish I had some lard! The best pie crust ever

    • Reply Cristen March 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      I have lots of lard to share! Didn’t Grandma make a great crust?

  • Reply sandyrmillerSandy Miller May 13, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Are you still blogging? I haven’t gotten any recipes for a while.

  • Reply Judy Sieren September 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Cristen, I am Jill B’s Mom from Keota. She loved your pie crust, it turned out beautiful & she was so proud of her first pie. I need a crust for a funeral & don’t want my huge recipe to sit in freezer the months we spend in AZ, so here goes!

  • Leave a Reply