Over lunch in Annapolis a few weeks ago, Jenny Stanley said, “If you want to make a great apple pie, use leaf lard.”
Leaf lard = “fat lining the abdomen and kidneys in hogs which is used to make lard [syn: leaf fat]”
So the Thursday before Christmas and the road trip up to Lake Tahoe to see the Lehoullier and Phillips clans with the promise of an apple pie, I stopped at the Ferry Terminal at the foot of Market Street on my way to the Larkspur Ferry to see if I could track down some of this porcine ambrosia. Chowhound had a discussion thread on where to find leaf lard in the Bay Area that pointed me to the Prather Ranch store first, but they were out (and quel horror!, the sales dude said, hey, you can use any ole lard for your apple pie, it’ll be just fine. No way! It’s leaf lard or nothing!)
Rendered lard isn’t exactly the most attractive smelling item in the kitchen, as it turned out, but an open window helped. Then I strained the mixture. Humans got the rendered lard; Mingus the Super Dog got a pretty good snack of “cracklins” later that day.
I’ve been using Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything for most of my gastronomical explorations, and apple pie is no exception, so following Mark’s advice I peeled, sliced and cored, and added in all the tasty stuff.
I was worried, though. Would my relatives like my leaf lard pie?
. . . to be my pie-making destiny?
NO! It was not!
I sure was.
(With thanks to son Noah, niece-in-law Sierra, and nephew-in-law Mo for the facial gestures)