Eat Like a Farmer: Pumpkin Pie with Real Leaf Lard Crust

Most canned pumpkin is actually winter squash. This pie was made using a whole acorn squash and a leaf lard & butter crust. 

Most canned pumpkin is actually winter squash. This pie was made using a whole acorn squash and a leaf lard & butter crust. 

A pie made from scratch doesn’t need to be a complicated project. Best of all, the ingredients can easily be sourced from local farmers markets, which are bursting with beautiful food and holiday gift ideas this time of year.

Winter squash and pumpkin are 100 percent interchangeable as fillings for pumpkin pie – in fact, much of the canned pumpkin available in stores is actually made from squash. The pie pictured was made from an acorn squash.

If you’re a traditionalist, you want a crust made with leaf lard, the odorless, wonderful fat that comes not from the back of a pig, but from around its kidneys. To our great-grandmothers, it was one of the most important fats in the kitchen. It contains less saturated fat than butter, is available locally, and produces a superb and tender crust – fabulous for sweet pies and tender Christmas cookies. For a friend’s wedding reception, I helped make dozens of fruit pies with leaf lard crusts.

One of the best qualities of a pumpkin pie is that its components can be prepared many days in advance of the feast, and assembled and baked the day of or the day before. If you can’t find leaf lard or don’t want to use it, substitute butter. The crust will be less fork-shatteringly tender, but still very good indeed.

A 1940s cookbook author, Meta Given, said a hot filling combined with a cold crust is the secret to a no-crack surface.

Find our full recipe in the Petoskey News-Review, here

Mary BrowerComment