Sunday, August 4, 2013

Health Benefits of Cooking with a Birthday Cherry Pie!

My husband Joe celebrated his 30th birthday on August 1st and I wanted it to be a special celebration for him. Instead of the usual birthday cake, Joe requested that I make a homemade, old fashioned cherry pie with a pie crust using a classic old timer's recipe using lard instead of the typical trans fat hydrogenated oil laden vegetable shortening "Crisco". Today, lard is not commonly used in pie crusts, but I assure you that our grandparents and great-grandparents often used it in cooking...and baking pastries! Many people also do not realize the health benefits of this animal fat. We use organic pastured pork lard from US Wellness Meats, it is the finest that we have found!
Above is a 1916 Squire's Pure Leaf Lard advertisement...YES, lard "makes tempting pastry"!

Lydia of "Divine Health from the Inside Out" in her blog article "The Truth About Lard and Why You Should Use It" writes: "If you are a follower of the Weston A. Price Foundation you probably know that this particular fat source is highly recommended. However you won’t find the use of lard in Nourishing Traditions – but Sally Fallon does recommend it’s use. I have heard her state in interviews and talks that just one tablespoon of pastured lard can contain 1000 IU of vitamin D. That’s a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient that is highly lacking in the modern American diet causing all kinds of rampant health conditions." She also writes: "Lard or pork fat is about 40 % saturated, 48% monounsaturated and 12% polyunsaturated. The amount of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids will vary in lard according to what has been fed to the pigs. Truly pastured pigs not fed on grain feed will have a higher omega 3 ratio, which is a good thing. In the tropics, lard can also be a good source of lauric acid if the pigs have eaten coconuts."
Above is a picture of Joe's birthday cherry pie next to our copy of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions.

Enlightened by Lydia's information and Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions" (which my husband Joe purchased as his birthday gift this year); I have been  inspired to use organic pastured lard in my cooking! Below are the recipes that I used in making this so very scrumptious old fashioned cherry pie! We gobbled it up in one evening it was so delicious...and we served it with Ben & Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream, which actually contains natural ingredients; no high fructose corn syrup, or GMO soybean oil that you find in other mainstream ice creams.

Lard Pie Crust Recipe

Makes 4 single or 2 9-inch double crusts
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups lard, cold and coarsely chopped
1 egg
5 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vinegar
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the lard until the mixture is very fine. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, water, and vinegar.
Make a small well in the flour mixture and add the liquid; mix just until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and flatten into disks; wrap individually in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

To make a double-crust pie with a solid top crust, roll out 2 disks of dough about 1 inch larger than the pie plate. Fit one crust into the bottom of the pie plate. Fill the pie with the desired filling; slightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust. Take the second crust, fold it in half, gently place it over the pie filling, and unfold, centering it on the pie plate; press the edges into the bottom crust to seal. Trim the excess dough to leave an overhang of about 3/4 inch. Crimp or flute the edges with your fingers. To allow steam to escape, gently prick the top crust with a fork several times or slash vents with a sharp knife.

For a lattice-top crust, roll the second crust to a diameter of about 13 inches (for a 9-inch pie) and cut the dough into eighteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Fill the pie and slightly moisten the edge of the bottom crust. Place 9 strips evenly across the filling, leaving space between and allowing the excess to hang over the edge of the bottom crust. Trim the excess dough and press the ends of the strips into the edge of the bottom crust to seal. Place the other 9 strips across the first set in a crisscross pattern; trim and press the second set of strips to seal. Fold up the bottom crust to cover the ends of the lattice strips, then crimp or flute with your fingers.

To make a glazed top crust, beat 1 egg white and brush on the unbaked top crust; sprinkle with sugar.

For a brown crust, brush the unbaked top crust with milk or cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the pies according to the recipe.

Make this your go-to pie crust recipe for light, flaky layers and exceptional flavor. This recipe is excerpted from Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient, a cookbook that offers you the opportunity to cook like your grandmother, while incorporating good animal fat into your diet once again.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking with Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient.

Cherry Pie Recipe

4 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries (I used frozen cherries because that is what I had available)
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used "Madhava" Organic Coconut Sugar)
4 tablespoons organic Non-GMO cornstarch (I use "Rapunzel" brand)
1/8 tablespoon almond extract (optional...I skipped this ingredient because I did not have it) 
Your favorite pie crust or pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie (I used the lard pie crust recipe above)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, to dot
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, to sprinkle

Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the almond extract, if desired, and mix. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

I found this Cherry Pie recipe from the wonderful Food Network website: Cherry Pie

Here are some more dessert recipes using lard in this 1916 advertisement for Swift's "Silverleaf" Brand Pure Lard from Swift & Company

1 comment:

Justin said...

Hello Eco-Friendly Freckles! I found your blog while looking for some vintage lard advertisements. I love your blog, and especially how you guys cooked your birthday pie the old-fashioned way! We are self-sufficient farmers in Rockport, TX, and we make our own lard out of our pastured porkers. With your permission, I would love to use some of your lard advertisement on a post about Crisco and lard. Thank you so much!