Culinary Arts

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.

Good God. This Masterclass has made me rethink how I touch everything in the kitchen.

I love Chef Keller. Every class I take from him makes me think I too could be a 3 Star Michelin Chef.

Again, fabulous tips and tricks. Chef Keller always leaves you excited to try the recipes on his class!

The Thomas Keller classes are excellent. I feel like there is a lot of value in what he teaches. Some of the other cuisine classes don't show you that much. His first class was the best, this class was the second best. It would be great if he did more.


Charles S.

The plastic wrap did melt in the oven, as other students have worried that it might. However, it only stuck to the dried beans, and not to the crust, so there was no real harm done. The finished pie came out beautiful!

A fellow student

I have to bake 2 apple pies next week & this year, I have vowed to make my own crust. I will try this recipe, although I've never had an apple pie that wasn't made from sliced apples. Probably my oven is inferior to Keller's, but I've always had to shield the crust edges to prevent burning. One last comment: why are the measurements given in grams? I'll have to find a gram converter to get approximate measurements for ounces, etc.? The conversion may be slightly off; I have no measuring tools for grams. Why add this extra challenge?


Hallo Herr Keller! With this picture, I would like to say thank you, an admirer of yours from Germany. Thank you for three courses that have brought me as a hobby chef so much further. Your calm, restrained nature, combined with the precision of a clockwork, I think is absolutely great. I never thought that of all Americans would bring me French cuisine. Greetings from Germany! Ihr Alexander Makris

Clifford A.

I have made again using an oven bag I cut to shape and rated to 400 degrees. Worked perfectly and no melting!

Margaret E.

Beautiful Pie. It did look more like and applesauce pie though. I was surprised at using the plastic wrap. They say don't use in microwave, but assume oven not as hot so OK. Several students said the plastic wrap melted. Is the restaurant style plastic wrap heavier. I also noticed he's using his old style pairing knife instead of his new design. Has anyone purchased the new knives? What do you think of them?

A fellow student

I always use clingfilm to blind-bake pie crusts and that was what we used all through culinary school. You triple the thickness of the clingfilm and fold the clingfilm inwards over the edge to expose the crust as he did in the video-it will fuse slightly but on the beans. This also makes it easy to lift the beans when baked.

Clifford A.

Instead of dicing the apples for the second addition to the filling, I used 1/4 inch slices and the filling was perfect. Yes, my plastic wrap melted, but the crust was beautiful and tasted great...the two bites I I threw the crust away not wanting to eat/serve crust infused with melted plastic. I was skeptical when I tried the plastic and should have trusted my intuition. I was able to use the second crust to make a small apple tart and it was excellent. I will make the pie again but prebake the crust with parchment paper.

A fellow student

So...whats disturbing is that the video was clearly edited. His crust is a perfect golden? Yeah I've been baking for 7 years and call BS. Most professionals would line with foil...and yet he all. The outside crust will ALWAYS cook before the rest of the pie usually ..yet he has a perfectly consistent crust. It's unusual. Pretty sure Masterclass makes sure results always come out perfect or some weird crap. These people never even eat their results afterwards....makes me think some things were made by assistants in advance. ..such a disappointing lecture.

Sheila T.

Aside from the pastry I thought that this was definitely the weakest lesson so far. I have enjoyed the previous 2 series immensely but I couldn’t understand why Thomas went to all that trouble of making a purée and then cutting another batch of apples into a dice and then basically pulverising the whole lot into a brown sludge. Not only that but why then bake the whole lot for another 45 minutes. What am I missing ? I would have put the sliced apples the sugar and some spices if desired into the pastry case and then just baked it. I feel the result would be a fresher cleaner Apple taste.