Perfect Flaky Pastry (Lard-Free Version)

You can buy frozen pie shells for the sake of convenience, but they’re wrapped in plastic and the taste and texture can’t possibly compare to that of homemade pastry. I have a pastry recipe on here already (it’s an old post – forgive the bad photography!), but it has lard. I’m a lard enthusiast. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m Canadian. I know that a lot of my readers are vegetarian or don’t like using lard in their recipes, so I’m posting a lard-free version. This pastry recipe uses butter. A lot of  pastry recipes that don’t have lard call for vegetable shortening, but I never use vegetable shortening. Vegetable shortening either comes in plastic tubs or in plastic-wrapped bricks in plastic boxes. And even if I did find a plastic-free source, I wouldn’t ever use it. Butter and lard are better (in my opinion). Here are the ingredients you need for the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar (I bought mine in bulk)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp cold water

Whisk together flour, sugar and salt.

Cut the butter into chunks. Add to the pastry mixture. Using a pastry blender (I’ve heard two knives will work as well) cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger ones. The larger chunks are the secret to flaky pastry.

Drizzle in water. Mix until you have a ball.

Split the ball in two and flatten the halves into disks. Wrap the disks in parchment paper. I never use plastic wrap for pastry. Or anything, actually.

Chill the pastry for about an hour, or until you’re ready to use it. Take one disk out and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out. To prevent sticking, brush your rolling pin with flour. Place the rolled out pastry in a pie pan.

Trim off the edges. Take a large piece of foil and fold it in half. Place it on top of the pastry. Add pie weights. I just used dried beans for this.

Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and continue to bake until crust is golden, about eight more minutes.

Now its ready to fill and bake. Either bake the other crust in the same way, use it as a top crust or freeze it for later. Enjoy! I used this pastry to make a rhubarb pie.

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