Saturday, 25 April 2015

Aberdeen Butteries and the Great White Lard Hunt of Brisbane

Lard - rendered pig fat - so hard to come by in sunny Brisbane.  Who knew that this recipe would result in the great white lard hunt?   I strolled down to my local Woolies, whistling a merry tune, (nah, not really) happy in the thought that soon I would be making these fatty little beauties.  But no! not a skerrick of lard to be seen.  I checked out Coles - nope, not a whisker.  I walked into the local deli - huh?  lard? are you joshing?  I racked (and wracked) my brains working out where I could buy some.  I thought of taking a drive to a butcher somewhere - somewhere being the operative word as they are not easily found these days.  I mean real butchers who know how to cut up a carcass and what the cuts of animal are. I grew up living behind a real butcher who had sawdust on the floor and lots of bloody carcasses being dragged into the shop (and he only had a few fingers left!), so I am sadly disappointed these days to find neither blood nor bone:)  So I did what everyone does these days and I turned to good old Google.  And there I read that fellow bloggers like Celia she of the In My Kitchen posts, and Fiona from TiffinBiteSized had also struggled with this epic search.  And guess what! success at last from the IGA store.  Apparently the Allowrie company used to make lard and dripping (lard from pigs, and dripping from cows), but this is now branded as York Foods and hallelujah! you can buy it at the IGA stores.  And yes they are asking everybody to contact Woolies and Coles to ask them to stock it again too.  So quest successful, I could now go ahead and make these quirky Scottish delights.  This recipe is from the delightful book Shetland Food and Cooking, which I have previously reviewed.  So many more recipes to try:)
I love the quote from Marian the author who says: "there are no bad foods, just bad diets".  So true!   I have never been much of a bread lover or maker, so I am not very au fait with yeast cookery, but I have given it a damn good go here, and I was pretty pleased with the result.


bread dough:

250g strong white flour
7g dried instant yeast
5g sugar
175 mls warm water (I just kept sticking my finger in till it felt bearable)

fatty dough:

75g strong white flour
4g salt
5g sugar
75g butter softened (not melted)
60g lard softened (this happened almost instantly as it was a warm day and the lard is very soft anyway)


Place the flour, yeast and sugar in a medium bowl
Give it a stir with your hand
Add the warm water and mix it together with your hands till you have an elastic dough (this will happen very quickly) - no need to knead, but you may need to add a bit of flour to make a nice ball
Put it aside while you make the fatty dough
In a large bowl, place the flour, salt, and sugar and stir it together
Add in the diced butter and the lard and mix with a knife - the author suggests doing it with your hands but as I am not in Scotland, I used a knife as the dough was incredibly soft and melty
Now you are at the fun part -
throw some flour on your work surface
Roll out the bread dough till you have a 1cm thick rectangle
Put blobs of HALF the fatty dough on top of the rectangle
Fold over one third of the bread dough into the centre then fold the other third over the top so you have a fat squishy parcel of buttery, lardy dough
Roll out again to a 1 cm thick rectangle (in sunny Brisbane you can just pat it out with your hands)
Then dot the surface with the blobs of the other half of the fatty dough
Do the one third thing again - i.e. - fold it like a fitted sheet!
Roll out again to about 1 cm thick
Allow to rest for 10 minutes
Divide into 12 pieces (I used a ruler - I know crazy talk)
Place them on a tray coated with flour; squish them out a bit and create 4 dimples in each piece
Cover loosely with oiled cling film and let them prove for 30 minutes
Pre-heat your oven to 225C
Bake the butteries for about 20 mins or till golden
Serve warm

gather your ingredients  

add the luke warm water 

patting the bread dough into an elastic ball 

the bread dough after proving for 10 minutes 

ingredients for the fatty dough  

adding the butter and lard to the flour for the fatty dough  

mixing the butter and lard in with the flour    

patting out the dough  

 blobbing the surface of the bread dough with half  the fatty dough      

folding the doughs into an envelope shape (sort of)

second layer of fatty dough incorporated and the combined doughs rolled out again  

once the second lot of blobs are patted in and rolled out, cut into 12 pieces 

give them some dimples:)  

cover them in oiled cling film for 30 minutes to prove   

bake till golden (these might be a bit too golden)  

enjoy warm out of the oven with a nice cup of tea  

These butteries are flaky and rich, and I think I need to try making them again to get the flakiness just right!  I have a confession here -  the smell of the lard was a wee bit offputting to me though it did not affect the taste.  So folks, if you decide to try making these, do not fear the smelly pig fat, as it disappears into the dough and gives you a delightfully flaky, buttery treat.  I suggest sprinkling on some dried herbs and some sea salt flakes, and perhaps even some grated Parmesan cheese before baking to give it an extra fillip.  But these are not essential, as the buttery is a treat in itself.


  1. Oh I think I have a block of it in my fridge although it's probably expired as I don't use it very much. Maybe I should use it in this so that it doesn't go to waste.

    1. Hi Lorraine
      I have found another great recipe with lard so I can use it up:). Now that I have hunted it down I want to make use of it.

  2. These look divine, I think I would probably resort to substituting butter for the lard. We wanted to try making our own dog biscuits and couldn't find lard but did find suet for them. The dogs thought they were the best biscuits ever!

    1. hi stella
      i think you could use all butter instead of lard and butter and it would probably taste much the same. i need to make them again to get it perfect:)

  3. I wonder if the IGA up here has lard. I would love a pie crust with half lard and half butter for my French Canadian Tourtière pies. I've never heard of Aberdeen Butteries but I think I'm in love.

    1. isn't it funny how things pop into your life? I was reading a Scottish crime novel and they mentioned eating "rowies" and sure enough this is another name for aberdeen butteries.

  4. I love that you went on a great white lard hunt! I'm going to keep an eye out for it now too in Sydney. I don't think I've seen or tasted butteries before so thank you for sharing that Scottish delight.

  5. Hi vicki
    Yes I was astonished that lard was so hard to come by:). Trust a Scottish recipe for a heart warming (and stomach) treat.

  6. These butteries look great. I haven't seen pig fat/lard around, but I do have some wagyu lard in the fridge of all things. I saw it at Coles the other day, grabbed it as I hadn't seen it before and have completely forgotten about it until I read your post.

    1. wagyu lard? that sounds interesting. maybe these old fashioned things will come back into fashion and we will all have a dripping bowl in the fridge just like our mums used to do. i saw one advertised for $100! just to keep dripping in. crumbs!

  7. I bought it under the old guise of Allowrie so I didn't know it had been rebadged. Good to know for future reference. I have half a block in the freezer and to be honest, the other day when I needed a small amount of vegetable shortening, I just used a little lard and, of course the result was spectacular. I'd never heard of these and I can tell by the picture they would have been utterly, butterie delicious!

    1. hi fiona
      yes the lard quest was a biggie.:) Lard is very interesting and adds a real richness to baked goods. Hard to believe it was THE shortening of choice not that long ago.

  8. haha lard is huge in Germany! I just stare at it at the supermarket hehe

    1. hi cate
      yes it is a bit hard to know what to do with it all! I just don't think pig fat is my thing really:)


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