I’ve had success using Rendered Beef Fat instead of margarine or butter in two different pie crust recipes. These are below, but I suspect you could adapt your own favorite as well. The key with using beef fat is that it is both harder than butter (when cold) and softer (when warm) so you need to let it warm up, but not too much, to work it into the four when it can still remain distinct clumps — since the fat melting between layers of flour is what causes flaky pie crust. Fill these crusts with your favorite fruit filling and enjoy after a meat meal!
If you don’t happen to have a fleishig rolling pin, here are my suggestions:
a/ get one if you plan to do this often!
b/ use a wine bottle or or other narrow, long, round bottle; or
c/ press dough into the bottom of the pan (without rolling out) — you may lose some flakiness, but not too much — just work quickly so the dough doesn’t heat up too much from your fingers
Basic Pie Crust
Adapted from Deborah Madison
Makes 1 9″ crust
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4lb rendered beef fat
- 3-5 tablespoons ice water
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then cut in the fat, using your fingers or two knives until it resembles coarse meal. Lightly stir in the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you can bring the dough together in a ball. You might need slightly more or less. Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk and refrigerate.
- Allow dough to come to room temperature — but not too warm — before rolling. Cold dough will be stiffer than cold dough made with butter.
Tart-like Pie Crust
Adapted from Herdis Stevenson
Makes 2 9″ crusts (freeze one for later, or make a lattice-topped pie!)
- 1lb rendered Beef Fat
- 5 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 teaspoons vinegar
- Sift the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, work in fat til the size of small peas or coarse corn meal. Beat the egg in a cup, add the vinegar, and enough water to make one cup. Mix into the dough. Chill before using.
- To bake unfilled, line the chilled crust with parchment or foil, fill with beans or pie weights, and bake for about 15 minutes, then take the paper and weights off and bake another 5 minutes til just starting to brown.