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

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Which makes the best crust?

Which makes the best biscuits?

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

    1. 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

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

      2. 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. 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

            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. 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

              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

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

                1. re: alkapal

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

                1. 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

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

                  2. 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

                      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. is "leaf lard" different from standard lard?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Diana

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

                        1. re: carswell

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

                      2. Out of curiosity, is lard traditional for savory biscuits?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: willownt

                          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

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

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kelli2006

                            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.