Last week, Matt made a chicken pot pie with some leftover, frozen duck-fat pie crust that he made last fall. The flakey, melt-in-your-mouth crust was amazing, and got us craving pie all over again. We started dreaming of split pea pot pie, strawberry rhubarb…the list goes on. This time we knew that we wanted to try something other than duck fat for the pie crust. It was delectable, but we wanted to see if we could go the extra mile and compare it to leaf lard.
“leaf lard, often called the crème de la crème of animal fats. When properly rendered it rewards with a pure, white lard, perfect for exquisite, delicate and flavorful pastry crusts.”
Now leaf lard is not something you easily find in a grocery store, nor is it something that you can easily buy as a finished, ready-to-bake-with product. We scoured out West Seattle farmers market and found that a local butcher/farmer there that brought it’s raw form to market: leaf fat. Yesterday we picked up b 3 pound package of raw leaf fat ($4/lb) and happily skipped home to start the rendering process. Now I have never rendered anything further than skimming extra fat off drippings from a roasted chicken, but this was not that hard.
Matt chopped the fat into small pieces, and we put it in the crockpot with a ¼ cup of water and left it on low all afternoon until just before bed.
The fat melted down into smaller and smaller bits (we kept the crock on low then eventually just turned it to warm since it was too hot). Just before bed we poured the rendered bits and liquid through two strainers and paper towels (quick cheesecloth!) to produce a perfectly clear, slightly golden syrup. It filled a quart sized mason jar and we popped it in the fridge. What would it look like in the morning? Would it be the perfect, snow-white crème de la crème of fats?
Yes it was. It turned out perfectly. What a satisfying afternoon to produce our own cooking fat at home. It is healthier, local, and will produce wonderful flakey pies and other baked goods. Now bring on the pies!