Here’s the gem of a recipe - plus 10 yummy tips to make traditional tallow part of your real food lifestyle, from Fatworks Founder David Cole
It seems like a dream… Buttery, flaky pie crust that tastes amazing, is full of nutrients and fits in the Paleo (and ancestral eating) protocol. Well wake up and take a bite!
This pumpkin pie recipe has it all. And the secret to that dreamy crust?
A 50/50 ratio of beef tallow and butter.
Why is this mix so magical? Melissa Clark, a New York Times writer who tested her own pie crust with multiple versions of the rendered fat and butter combo, couldn’t have captured the essence of the tallow version better:
“As easy to work with as (shortening crust), it retained its shape perfectly in the oven, baking up crisp, yet marvelously tender and flaky… It was… delectable… tasting rich and slightly meaty, though not identifiably beefy.”
Indeed, we found during our own spectacularly fun taste testing that the butter (and a hint of lucious ghee) balances the heartiness that a pie crust made with 100% tallow can yield.
If you're unfamiliar with beef tallow, it’s a rendered, saturated cooking fat made from the fat of the cow - that usually surrounds the organs and kidneys. What lard is to piggies, tallow is to cows.
Our pick for tallow is the grass fed goodness from Fatworks.
Here are a just few reasons why:
It’s sourced from small family farms: Fatworks Grass Fed Beef Tallow is rendered from pasture raised, 100% grass fed cows. There are many grass fed operations that are actually hybrids of traditional feedlots and pasture raised cattle. Yet Fatworks only sources from small family farms.
It’s artisanally crafted in small kettle batches: This means your Fatworks Beef Tallow is just like you would have made it in your own home 100 years ago. To create this basic staple, you would chop up the fat, put it in the stock pot, let it render for a few hours, and then you’d likely filter it through a coffee filter or a cheese cloth. Fatworks does the same in very small batches - except the filter is finer, so you don’t get any renderings. (Most other tallow manufacturers use large kettle batches, which means the tallow isn’t as fresh or pure).
Its taste is superior, because only suet is used: Fatworks Beef Tallow has a rich yet mild, beefy taste. It’s similar to butter in that you can toss it in a pan and melt it down. One of the things that really distinguishes this taste compared to other tallows on the market (that use the less expensive trim) is that it’s made only from the fat surrounding the kidney (called suet), which is premium and more consistent, and boasts a smooth mouth feel.
It’s great for cooking and baking: Fatworks is filtered to meet the highest standards of gourmet cooks, passionate bakers, Paleo followers and those who know enough to eat the fats of our ancestors. It makes for luscious sautéed and fried dishes - the best fries. And of course, your grandma's homemade pies (see recipe below). Beef tallow was likely a key ingredient in that flaky, melt-in-your mouth crust back in the day.
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Recipe - with crust!
Try this Paleo Pumpkin Pie and you won’t miss the traditional pies a bit! A rich, flaky, Paleo-approved pie crust is filled with creamy pumpkin custard and baked until golden brown - for a go-to comforting and nourishing holiday dessert. Fantastic with homemade coconut whipped cream. Gluten free, grain free, lick-your-lips approved!
Note: Even if you’re not full-on Paleo, this recipe is comprised of wholesome ingredients that jibe with ancestral eating, or anyone who adores a classic, tasty pie.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hourPrint Recipe
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 cup arrowroot powder
- ¼ cup Fatworks Grass Fed Beef Tallow
- ¼ cup grass fed butter, cold
- 1 tablespoon Ancient Organics Ghee
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon Frontier Co-Op Grey Fine Sea Salt
- 1 16-ounce box organic pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons baked organic sweet potato (optional)
- ⅔ cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut cream
- 4 tablespoons Honey Pacifica Sage Honey (or more depending on how sweet you like your pie)
- 2 teaspoons pure organic vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- Pinch sea salt salt
- 2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 375℉.
- Grease a 9-inch glass pie pan with butter, set aside.
- Mix your crust ingredients (except egg) in a food processor or mixer, until it becomes a thick, crumbly consistency.
- Then mix in the egg until a dough forms.
- Roll the dough into a ball.
- Place in a covered glass container, and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes to a half hour.
- Now you can press your dough into your pie dish: Either roll out the dough on parchment paper and flip it into your pan - or press it in evenly using your fingers.
- Gently pierce the entire raw crust in the pie pan with a fork, to prevent puffing while in the oven.
- Bake your pie crust for a brief 10 minutes to set the bottom.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding your filling.
For the filling:
- Mix all ingredients, saving the eggs for last.
- Then gently whisk in eggs and your extra yolk, one at a time.
- Pour your filling evenly into your crust.
- Bake (still at 375℉) for an hour or until the center is nearly set and crust is a warm golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely at room temperature, so the filling stays intact.
- Once cooled, serve and enjoy!
- Or, cover and store in the fridge for up to three days.
- Serve topped with homemade coconut whipped cream for an extra special treat.
Why seek out a saturated fat like beef tallow?
Many people don’t realize this, but America was built on tallow, as it was a staple fat of the frontier. As pioneers moved west, their cows moved with them, providing fresh milk, butter, beef and of course, tallow. Beef tallow remained a key dietary component in the U.S. until it was ousted - and replaced with industrially grown and produced Crisco (cottonseed oil), margarine and vegetable oils.
As people become educated about the nourishing properties of truly healthy fats, tallow - which is comprised of up to 55% saturated fat - is making a welcome comeback.
Here are just a few health benefits of saturated fats and tallow - when sourced from happy, healthy, free-range animals… *
Healthy saturated fats provide myriad vital nutrients and energy. Perhaps most importantly, they can help your body get the most from the food you’re eating, as good fat is a co-factor needed for the absorption of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods.
And believe it or not, our brains are composed of 60% fat; and saturated fat is one of the main components of our brain cells. Therefore, our brains need healthy fats to function optimally. Fueling with fat encourages ketosis, which provides energy to the brain and helps protect the brain from degenerative diseases.
Saturated fat also helps support the liver and immune system, and helps to maintain proper hormone balance.*
Beef tallow in particular contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that has been shown to support heart health.* It also contains an array of beneficial vitamins, including A, D, E and K.*
And don’t forget about the skin! Tallow is surprisingly similar to our own skin cells, with both beef tallow and our skin containing at least half saturated fat content. In turn, much of the nutrients in tallow go straight to your skin, helping to support its tone and elasticity.
Another bonus? Tallow could be instrumental in breaking harmful sugar addictions, since it’s so high in saturated fat. As most of us are aware, eating too much sugar can cause us to become more and more reliant on sweet foods - and it can take a serious toll on the body. Getting plenty of saturated fat from quality sources like tallow can help break that saccharine sweet cycle by triggering satiety hormones, providing nutrients and helping support your body’s biochemical reactions.
Top 10 tips on tallow
To get even more delicious tidbits on tallow, we went straight to the expert, David Cole, founder of Fatworks, based on Boulder, Colorado. Here are David’s top 10 tips on Tallow.
- Keep it in the pantry: If you put your tallow in the fridge, it gets rock hard. The consistency stays more supple in the pantry, so it’s easier to spoon out of the glass bottle for short-term use.
- Keep it simple: Whether you roast, pan fry or grill, keep it simple and add a dollop of tallow to your favorite veggies and meats. Marrying tallow to a pan fried steak is a great way to add some flavor, especially if it’s grass fed, because grass fed cuts tend to be leaner. You can even add it to your ground beef.
- Get your kiddos to eat spinach: Pan fry spinach with a bit of tallow and watch them gobble it up! The tallow also helps the kiddos absorb all of those fat-soluble vitamins in the vegetables.
- Combine your tallow with another special fat in your classic recipes: A combo of tallow and butter makes fabulous pie crust (see above). A mix of tallow and duck fat is amazing for frying up potatoes. This way, you get wonderful flavors and all kinds of fatty acids.
- Make McDonald’s-inspired fries: Did you know McDonald’s used to do their fries in beef tallow? Some people like tallow fries and some people like duck fat fries… but when you combine the two, it’s amazing.
- Vary your tallows and fats: We know it’s best to have a colorful plate full of fresh produce and farmers market fare. Same goes with fats; they’re all comprised of different fatty acids. Science doesn’t yet know exactly what every single fatty acid does, so it’s good to get a variety with each meal.
- Reuse your tallow: A high smoke point (375℉) makes Fatworks Beef Tallow very durable and reusable. This means you can use it for repeated frying and it won't oxidize like vegetable oil.
- Eat tallow, lose weight: I (David Cole) went Paleo and had a fat-based diet. I got a lot healthier and lost a lot of weight and have maintained the weight loss years later. In this process, I couldn’t find a good source of fat, so we made it. I just know from personal experience that it is good for you. I try to make the best quality fat around.
- Use tallow for skin care: Tallow is very different from other animal fats in that it’s very good for skin care. Fatworks has multiple skincare companies that are making tallow-based skin care and sourcing from us. It’s pretty simple to make a really basic lotion or body butter, or even to melt it and mix with some essential oils and make a nice balm to rub on your hands or elbows.
- Use tallow for various dietary protocols: Fatworks’ roots are from the Paleo and Ketogenic communities. Then came the therapeutic lifestyles of Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and people who follow the teachings of Dr. Weston A. Price. We also get a lot of bakers and people who appreciate adding flavor to their meals. People from the real food movement also give us really nice support; they askew industrialized vegetable oils and are happy to embrace tallow and also eat whole grain bread. It’s funny, we’re making pure fat and the people drawn to it are all about health.