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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?

Lard, or butter in your crust? In your biscuits?

Diana Oct 23, 2007 12:31 PM

Which makes the best crust?

Which makes the best biscuits?

  1. k
    Kelli2006 Apr 8, 2009 01:42 PM

    I like butter in biscuits, but I use butter flavor shortening in pie crusts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006
      TrishUntrapped Apr 8, 2009 07:18 PM

      Ditto. Crisco with no trans fats for flaky pie crust, and butter for biscuits. But the biscuits I like to make are tall and fluffy, not the short, crispy many layered ones, so that may make a difference.

    2. w
      willownt Oct 26, 2007 08:53 PM

      Out of curiosity, is lard traditional for savory biscuits?

      2 Replies
      1. re: willownt
        bsheitman Apr 8, 2009 01:13 PM

        I was wondering the same thing which is what led me to this thread. In the past I've only used butter, but I used some fresh leaf lard yesterday and the results were amazing.

        I like biscuits with tender, visually distinct layers of flaky heaven and that's what I got with lard which I've never gotten with butter.

        I've used leaf lard in pie crusts both sweet and savoury and I find the flavor a bit bland, probably because I'm so used to all butter crusts...that being said...so freakin' tall and flaky!

        1. re: bsheitman
          MMRuth Apr 9, 2009 09:00 AM

          I used lard in biscuits, and when I was at a little diner in North Carolina, I was with a fellow hound who doesn't eat pork. She asked our waitress if she knew whether the biscuits had lard in them or not, and she replied "Honey, I sure do know and they have lard in them." We then noticed the huge plastic containers that said "lard" on them piled about. Great biscuits.

      2. d
        Diana Oct 24, 2007 06:16 AM

        is "leaf lard" different from standard lard?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Diana
          carswell Oct 24, 2007 06:50 AM

          The best -- purest and most neutral tasting -- lard is made from leaf fat, the fat surrounding the kidneys.

          1. re: carswell
            Diana Oct 24, 2007 07:46 AM

            Ahh, I suppose in LA I can find it at Surfas. Might be worth a try in a crust or biscuit!

        2. sweeterpea Oct 23, 2007 08:32 PM

          For my pie crusts I use 1/2 butter and 1/2 lard. I find the butter adds a beautiful taste, and the lard just makes the crust easier for me to work with. Biscuits, I always use butter.

          I try to use organic butter for my baking, it seems to have a much nicer "buttery" flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sweeterpea
            acme Oct 27, 2007 05:19 PM

            I also use a combination of fats; 1/2 butter and 1/2 crisco. The crusts always have a buttery taste and a wonderful flake. I find it easier to work with and the color is perfect.

          2. Kitchen Imp Oct 23, 2007 08:21 PM

            My grandmother taught me to use salad oil in my pie crusts. They come out marvelously flaky, though I've been told they shouldn't. I don't know why they work so well!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kitchen Imp
              LauraGrace Apr 8, 2009 06:21 PM

              My last pie crust was perfection, and I used half butter and half salad oil. Love how easy it is.

            2. w
              willownt Oct 23, 2007 05:05 PM

              Butter. No lard for me. I sometimes use a shortening/butter mix in my pie crusts.

              1. revsharkie Oct 23, 2007 02:29 PM

                I don't like lard. Tastes funny to me. It goes in nothing in my house. I generally use shortening for both biscuits and pie crust. But I did a pie crust with butter at one point, mainly because I was out of shortening, and while it didn't seem to affect the texture, the flavor was absolutely heavenly!

                3 Replies
                1. re: revsharkie
                  bigjimbray Oct 23, 2007 04:44 PM

                  I use lard for both crust and biscuits, I have no after tastes from lard. I think it is because
                  of the different grade of lard or brand that you use.

                  1. re: revsharkie
                    alkapal Oct 24, 2007 06:19 AM

                    my southern mom uses crisco for her biscuits. flaky. tender. yum!

                    1. re: alkapal
                      hollyd Apr 9, 2009 08:26 AM

                      ditto. My NC mom and gramma swear by the crisco. I use a fake crisco (non-hydrogenated) version that I get from Whole Foods for biscuits, and do half and half with butter on the pie crust.

                      I like it because it is like lard, but it's less savory so good for sweet stuff.

                  2. l
                    lora Oct 23, 2007 12:49 PM

                    Butter for crust. I can always taste the very slight hint of pork, which means it's right out for dessert. For savory pies the flavor and texture are lovely but there's a slight coating-of-the-tongue aspect that I would rather do without.

                    That said, if there's a homemade pie of any variety whatsoever in front of me, I WILL eat every single crumb.

                    I tried the butter grating thing, but I find that whirling chunks of frozen butter in a food processor with my flour is more foolproof for me. Since I like biscuits more fluffy than flaky, I whirl the butter a tad longer than for pie crust.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lora
                      David A. Goldfarb Apr 9, 2009 10:55 AM

                      I wouldn't rule out meaty, smoky, and porky flavors for dessert. I made a cherry pie once with bacon fat in the crust--not as flaky as lard, but the flavor was excellent.

                    2. carswell Oct 23, 2007 12:46 PM

                      For pastry, lard gives the flakiest and tenderest crusts but butter tastes better. A mix of 2/3 lard and 1/3 butter seems to combine the advantages of both.

                      1. Richard 16 Oct 23, 2007 12:42 PM

                        I prefer butter, especially for biscuits. To get a lighter texture freeze it first and use a grater. Less mixing, therefore faster and less gluten development.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Richard 16
                          Diana Oct 23, 2007 12:53 PM

                          I've read the freezing tip often, but never tried it. Your rec seals the deal, though. I gotta try it!

                        2. Candy Oct 23, 2007 12:35 PM

                          I like a lard in crusts for savoury pies and in biscuits. For dessert pies I usually use an all butter crust.

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