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Desserts: Apple Pie With Lard Crust

Thomas Keller

Lesson time 34:54 min

Chef Keller teaches you how to make an apple pie with a lard crust, reveals why he prefers the Granny Smith apple, and demonstrates techniques for creating the lattice top.

Thomas Keller
Teaches Cooking Techniques III: Seafood, Sous Vide, and Desserts
Chef Thomas Keller’s third MasterClass is devoted to preparing seafood, sous vide cooking, and making classic desserts.
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- We're going to make apple pie, certainly one of my favorite desserts. Reminds me of when I was a child, with my grandmother. Slice of apple pie, a little bit of whipped cream, or better yet, vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect way to end the meal. [MUSIC PLAYING] As American as apple pie. But as I've learned from my English pastry chef, the apple pie actually originated in England. So as much as that is true, I still really associate this with childhood. And it's such an important part of childhood. My grandmother had an apple trees, and cherry trees. And she'd make pies for us in the summer, and in the fall. And they were just great, in large part because of the crust. So this is really one of the most important parts about any pie. And certainly this crust can be used with any pie recipe that you have. It's a really, really wonderful pie crust. So we have here, we have all purpose flour. We have pastry flour, which is a finer ground flour. This helps with keeping it a little stronger. We have lard. We have sweet butter. We have vinegar, which is going to help shorten the gluten to keep it tender. Water. We have sugar. We have salt. We have a little baking powder. The baking powder is going to help, help make it expand without making it rise too much-- or, help making it rise without expanding too much. Again, the flakiness of a crust is the most important part, I think, of a pie. We're going to just work quickly here because everything needs to be cold. And that is a critical part of making a great crust, is keeping your fats cold. They don't have to be totally incorporated. In other words, if you have little pea sized pieces of the fat, whether it's butter or lard, that's totally OK. So getting all of our dry ingredients in our mixing bowl. Get our fat in there. We'll work with our hands here. Now remember, this is hard butter and hard fat. So it's very cold, and that's what we want. Now we're going to separate this, or divide this in two pieces-- one for the bottom, and then one for the lattice which we're going to do on top. I love lattice on top of a pie for two reasons. I love the way it looks, but also, it helps to vent the filling. We want to make sure that the venting is continuous. I know you've seen where there's a small vent on top of a pie that has a solid top. I prefer the lattice because there's more vents, more dehydration, so it keeps the crust crispier, and that's what I really want. Vinegar. Water. Just squeezing with my hands. You're working as fast as you can, keeping it cold. OK. I'm going to turn it out onto my table top. Bring it all together. Just make sure it's-- all right. And you can see those little pieces of lard, or those little pieces of butter. That, those are OK. Get it all off my hands. And then just bring it all together. Finally getting all the little runaway pieces. Shouldn't take you any longer than that to make this crust. OK? We'll go ahead and divide it...

Elevate your cooking

In his third MasterClass, Chef Thomas Keller focuses on preparing fresh seafood like lobster and salmon, making classic desserts such as apple pie and lemon tart, and showing how sous vide cooking can be done at home to enhance flavor and texture. Whether you’re a beginning or advanced cook, you’ll learn the techniques and principles that will give you the understanding and skills to get the most delicious results.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I always learn things from Chef Keller. Even though I have been cooking for years, he always gives a new twist, or better way to prepare food. Wonderful.

Loved the class, learned many new techniques and optional ways to cook .

In the short term, my current omelets are much better now that know to cook eggs at low heat. I will start practice the techniques I learned with fish cooking as my family does not eat meat/chicken

Chef Keller's techniques enhance the quality of my life by helping me devote all my food preparations towards enhancing and refining flavours.


A fellow student

Hi everyone ! Should I use convection on baking pie dough or just bake it without convection ? Thanks !


Chef Keller’s attention to detail is a recurring theme among all of the instructors on MASTERCLASS.

Teresa T.

I used Cling wrap to cover baking stone but it melted in the oven, heated at 350 degree. According to Google, it looks like most plastic wraps melt over 220 degree.

Rachel B.

I had a trouble with the dough. It was too dry/crumbly. Not sure what I'm missing...any suggestion to making a more pliable dough?


OK. Chef Keller is a master. I have watched all of the episodes from all three techniques classes and have learned a lot in the process. I want to make everything he makes. Furthermore, I don't seriously disagree with any of his recipes or techniques...until this one. While his crust proportions and ingredients are solid, I am not down with the whole apple sauce-tiny-cubes approach to the filling. I rarely precook my apples, but regardless, they are always in slices or chunks. The texture of the filling is crucial, and I don't want a soft, baby food consistency. That, and the unnecessary step (IMHO) of parbaking the bottom of a double-crust pie, puts Chef Keller and I in very different camps on this one. Not bad, though, to have only one serious disagreement in something like 90 lessons!

Ruba E.

Amazing video, I am really excited to try it. I am having a bit of a hassle to find lard, what would you suggest as a substitute ? I read that I can use butter instead. If this is the case then how much butter would I need instead of the 72 g of lard. Can't wait to try it.

William L.

Great lesson. I had problems with the cling wrap melting and sticking to the crust.

Mike B.

First time making a pie and this recipe, like all of Chef Keller's, delivered. My mom, like other commenters here, was concerned about not wrapping the edge of the crust with foil, but since TK didn't do that, neither did I. It was totally fine. I read the comments below about putting cling wrap in the oven and decided to use parchment paper instead. I suspect that the commercial cling wrap he's using is probably safe to higher temperatures than that on the consumer market. I rolled my dough for the lattice ever so slightly too thin, so I couldn't properly weave every single crosshair, but it still turned out great. A word of caution for those who haven't attempted this yet: the grating and cutting process for the apples, since there are so many, takes a long time. I would encourage you to have a helping hand when making this recipe. :-)

Joseph N.

Definitely a lot of steps for a simple apple pie. It does look great but is it worth it anyone? I really like the texture of apples when they are sliced and cooked better than an apple sauce filling I think.

Julie D.

I never use weights or clingfilm for pies and my crust always comes out flaky. I also don't handle it that much at all. I have an old tried and true recipe from Joy of Cooking and I roll it out between waxed paper and then put it in the pie pan