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Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and Variations

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 Tenderflake® Pie Pastry with Butter and Whole Wheat Flour 

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsHow to make a great pastry is fundamental to pie making and Canadian pastry is vastly different than that of our European counterparts. Lard rendered from a pig is where it began: leaf lard from around the kidneys and loin of the pig. As it lacks any real pork or meaty flavor, making it an excellent neutral-flavored cooking fat with a high smoking point. I have rendered my own lard. You can order leaf lard fat from any pork vender at your local farmer’s market. The home rendered lard was not as sweet as pastry made with the Tenderflake. Kevin Kossowan and I rendered our own lard. I made the pastry with our lards and one with Tenderflake, using the Tenderflake recipe on the side of the box of Tenderflake lard. Then we had a Tasting. I didn’t write about it, sadly, but the home rendered lards were outstanding in flavour as both Kevin and I had used the leaf lard fat from a Berkshire boar and that fat was as neutral as the Tenderflake, but more savoury than sweet in character. However, I don’t render my own lard on a regular basis simply due to the number of hours in a day.

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and Variations

I actually prefer my pie pastry with a combination of butter and lard. Traditional Tenderflake® pastry is made exactly the same way, but with lard, only. That creates an incredibly flaky and tasty crust that is tender. Adding the butter creates a more tender crust with a richer flavour. I make a double batch every time when making this fat combination in my pastry as I use one pound of each fat. Unsalted butter is important in this recipe as salted butter has a higher moisture content.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsAs I will be cutting the fat into the flour with my Thermomix, I prepare each batch of fat by cubing the pieces, then freezing or chilling them until ice cold.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsThe liquid mixture is combined: one beaten egg, one tablespoon of vinegar and water to make one cup at eye level in a liquid measuring cup. The flour is carefully measured and combined with the salt.

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and Variations

At this point, the fat must be cut into the flour. As this is a big batch for the Thermomix bowl, I added half of the fat a few seconds ahead of the remaining fat clearly explained in the recipe.

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsThe fat cut into the flour should look like tiny sweet peas or like slow cooking oatmeal flakes.Butter cut into flour mixture for pie pastryThe Thermomix is a powerful machine, but the precision with which the fat is cut into the flour never ceases to amaze me. I have actually published a post where my mom is demonstrating the traditional pastry making technique by hand, but that post was one of a few that got lost when my site was transferred to another host. I have to locate the photos in my back up and write it again.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsOnce the fat is cut into the flour, I pour all dry ingredients into a large bowl and work the liquid in with my hands by pouring in slowly into the side of the bowl and lightly mixing the dry ingredients to absorb the wet.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsSometimes the dough will come together in the bowl, and sometimes I pour it onto the counter to get the moist clumps to form together in a ball.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsMom might add a little more liquid to the above pastry, but it was a whole wheat pie pastry, and I could feel the weight of the moisture in it, and knew it just needed a two or three kneads to form a ball. Kneading pie dough is not a good idea. The less the dough is worked, the more tender and flaky the pastry will be, yet one or two turns will not hurt it.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsForm pastry dough into a ball and divide into 6 equal portions. Each recipe makes enough for 6 single shelled or 3 double shelled pies.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsForm each portion into a disc.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsEach of the six portions is wrapped securely and labeled clearly.

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and Variations

The discs need to chill and rest for 30 minutes before rolling or can be frozen at this point, bagged in yet another tightly sealed container or bag to avoid freezer burn.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsI lightly flour the surface area and use a sleeve over my rolling pin when rolling pie pastry. It is so slick and avoids anything sticking to the rolling pin. The pie dough below has a little whole wheat in it. Using the rolling pin to lift the rolled out pastry dough to lay it over the pie plate is a handy trick.Pie pastry rolled 2Whole wheat pastry is delicious with savoury pies. I don’t make that many, but use the same Tenderflake® Pie Pastry recipe on the side of the box every time.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsAfter rolling the dough, it gets laid over the pie plate. There should be enough dough to drape down over the sides to enable some decorative fluting.Tenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and VariationsTenderflake® Pie Pastry and Variations

Lard, butter, lard and butter with white flour, whole wheat flour or a combination of the two is just the beginning. Before one can change the traditional recipe, one has to master it. Then think about adding rosemary, or thyme to savoury pie pasty doughs and nutmeg or cardamom to sweet pie pastry doughs. Just a touch. In any case: Make Pie!

Tenderflake® Pie Pastry with Butter
 
Prep time

Total time

 

The recipe for the flakiest pie pastry has been found of the side of the Tenderflake® lard box almost since the beginning of time. My grandmother used it, my mother used it. It has been used by generations of women on the Canadian prairies and is undoubtedly the “go-to” recipe for the best-ever pie pastry. I sometimes use ½ lard and ½ butter for some recipes. I also use ½ whole wheat flour and ½ white flour for other recipes. Either way, the formula cannot be messed with if you want a flaky crust. Yield: 3 9-inch double crust pies or 6 pie shells.
Author:
Recipe type: Dough
Cuisine: Canadian

Ingredients
  • 5½ cups or 850g of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp or 10 g salt
  • 1 lb or 465g Tenderflake® lard, rendered lard, or ½ lard and ½ butter, cubed
  • 1 tbsp or 15g vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Ice Water

Instructions
  1. Whisk flour and salt; cut in ice cold fat until it is pea sized or looks like slow cooking raw oats
  2. In a 1 cup liquid measure, combine vinegar and egg; add ice water to make 1 cup
  3. Gradually pour liquid around the edges of the mixture, mixing by hand, adding only enough for dough to cling together
  4. Form gently into a ball; divide into 6 equal portions on counter
  5. Wrap and label portions
  6. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes if you are using right away, or
  7. Freeze for future use by placing wrapped pastry dough in container, tightly sealed
  8. When ready to use, roll out each portion on lightly floured surface; If pastry dough is sticking, chill for another hour or two
  9. Transfer rolled pastry dough to pie plate
  10. Trim and flute shells or crusts and bake according to your pie recipe
Instructions for the Thermomix:
  1. Scale flour and salt into the TM bowl; whisk for 3 seconds on speed 1-2
  2. Scale ½ the ice cold fat into the TM bowl; cut into flour for 3-5 seconds on Turbo
  3. Scale in the remaining fat; cut into flour from 0-10 for 5 seconds
  4. In a 1 cup liquid measure, combine vinegar and egg; add ice water to make 1 cup
  5. Empty dry ingredients with fat cut into it into a large bowl; gradually pour liquid around the edges of the mixture, mixing by hand, adding only enough for dough to cling together
  6. Form gently into a ball; divide into 6 equal portions on counter
  7. Wrap and label portions
  8. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes if you are using right away, or
  9. Freeze for future use by placing wrapped pastry dough in container, tightly sealed
  10. When ready to use, roll out each portion on lightly floured surface; If pastry dough is sticking, chill for another hour or two
  11. Transfer rolled pastry dough to pie plate
  12. Trim and flute shells or crusts and bake according to your pie recipe

Notes
I use a sleeve on my rolling pin which avoids any sticking and also roll the pastry dough on a parchment paper to make for easy clean up (I reuse it, of course!)[br]Pastry flour will use less liquid than whole wheat flour.

 

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About Valerie Lugonja

Educator, Writer, Gardener and Traveler who believes in buying and eating locally, and most importantly cooking at home!

Join The Conversation!

  1. You are so smart to make a big batch in advance so you always have pie crust on hand! I would say the crust is definitely the most time consuming part so once that is done you are smooth sailing!

    • Valerie Lugonja says:

      Been doing it this way all of my life. Cannot imagine making the pastry the same day as a pie… Well, I usually make one pastry making day, but it is so easy to whip up the pastry and get it done and out of the way. Then effortless to whip up a pie, anytime! :)
      V

  2. I haven’t made pastry with lard for many years, and then it was from a package purchased at the grocery store. Rendering your own lard would have a strong sense of accomplishment.

  3. Suzanne McInnes says:

    I grew up making pastry using the recipe on the Tenderflake box. I’ve tried other recipes over the years, but always gone back to the Tenderflake recipe. I was intrigued with your idea of using the Tenderflake recipe using half butter and half lard. I used all purpose flour and made 6 balls of pastry. I made a sour cherry pie with the pastry today and it was absolutely delicious. I’ll freeze the rest of the dough to use another day. Thanks for the idea to use half butter and half lard.

    • Valerie Lugonja says:

      Hey, Suzanne,
      I have even replaced the lard completely with butter in this recipe. That crust is very soft and rich… And the colour is definitely more brown or golden. I was brought up on the lard flavour and love it, but the possibilities are endless. Just don’t use salted butter as it has a higher water content. :)
      V

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