Leaf Lard

What is Leaf Lard?

Leaf lard is the fat that surrounds the pig’s kidneys. It is of very high quality and, when rendered, makes some of the best tasting and flakiest crusts ever! Don’t let the name lard put you off. It is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than butter.Leaf Lard

I was introduced to leaf lard when I was given a one pound container some years ago.

The creamy white substance looked similar to store bought shortening my grandma used in liberal amounts. She was the pie-baker in the family but went to her grave with her crust recipe!

I’d always heard lard makes the best crusts. Searching it out, all I could find was the boxed stuff in the grocery store international section and wondered if there might be another option.

The gift of this little tub was a great opportunity to learn and I got right to work experimenting. I made crust after crust, trying to get the right ratio of butter and lard to create a pie crust that is:

  • flavorful
  • light
  • flaky
  • and easy to work with.

The Great Pie Crust Quest took over two years of work. Friends were ever-willing testers, offering feedback, suggestions and encouragement, every step of the way.

Some days I made four versions of crust to try, tweaking amounts of butter, leaf lard, water, not to mention flour, a whole subject in itself.

Others have discovered this old-fashioned ingredient, too. Lorna Yee (Seattle Magazine and Cookbook Chronicles) calls it her “porcine secret”. Ashley Rodriguez of notwithoutsalt has a short and informative video about rendering your own in which she demonstrates one of the methods to make your own.  It’s quite easy to do.

Where to Purchase?

But most of us will be wanting to purchase some already rendered and then the question is where can one find leaf lard? With a little sleuthing hopefully you will find some. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Ask your local artisan butcher for rendered leaf lard.
  • Check at farmers markets.
  • Do a web search for buy leaf lard and your bound to come up with some places that will mail order right to your door!

How to Store?

An Update (Aug 25, 2011) :
I’ve been asked about how much leaf lard do I use. I have gone through up to 50 pounds of leaf lard in my workshops each month at times. If you buy it already rendered, you can store it in your freezer for one year and at least six months in the fridge.

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  1. Dan says

    We’ve bought a lot of leaf lard over the years. The absolute best I’ve ever had, hands down is “Fannie and Flo” from Etsy. I’m ordering monthly now. Don’t know how they do it, but these old women are rendering goddesses- they know what they’re doing and the price is right! I get the best recipes from them with my orders and they remember me, old school customer service for sure.

    • says

      If you do a web search for leaf lard you’re sure to come up with some places that will mail order to you. Also, check your local artisan butchers and farmers markets. You will want to get already rendered leaf lard but rendering yourself is very easy, too.

    • Sonia says

      Prairie Pride Farm website! A little on the pricy side, but I intend on buying some. Happy Pie baking & making.

  2. A M Hunter says

    Many years ago I would buy kidneys, and the butcher would just throw in the surrounding suet and fat. {It would have gone for animal feed} I would grate the suet to make dumplings then render the fat down for my pastry. Over the years I have been seduced by all this fancy advertising that we are bombarded with,and of course my cooking {and health} have paid the price. As of today, I’m back on track, thank you for the nudge. Maureen.

  3. says

    Hi Albert! Oh how I would love to attend a King Arthur Pie Class. They are coming to my neck of the woods in the Fall when they take their baking show on the road. It’s on my calendar! I’m looking forward to meeting the fine KA bakers.

    Now to answer your question. The recipe is out there on the web. If you type in my name and pie crust you’ll probably find it!

    Please check back in and let us know how the KA class is!

  4. Albert Dionne says

    I have been trying to make a crut for pies and am not having much luck, I have enrolled in a pie crust class at King arthur flour in Norwich Vermont but have hear how good leaf lard is and after reading what you have above was wondering if you have ever revealed your recipe for the pie crust using leaf lard. If so can you tell me how to find it. Thank You. Al

  5. says

    I live in Magnolia and am thrilled to know you are in the neighborhood. I hope to take one of your classes in the near future. I am intriqued to try the rendered leaf lard. I know that when Shauna first started the gluten-free diet she consulted and recommended my book in the process. I look forward to meeting her someday too. She is such a great writer and has done much to lift those on the gluten-free diet out of the doldrums with her wit and wonderful view on life. Right now the fat in my gluten-free pie crust recipe consists of butter–I have experimented with lard in the recipe without good results. I hope to learn more, thank you. Karen

  6. Camee says

    Are you willing to share your favorite pie crust recipe with lard? I’d love to try this!

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