Suet Ingredient In Pastry Dough From Avery Wittcamp Of Marlow & Sons In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City

The secret to perfect pastry dough? Hint: It's not lard.

"If it reminds you of your grandmother–or McDonald's–then people will like it," says Avery Wittcamp, the pastry chef at Williamsburg's Marlow & Sons restaurant. Her apple hand pies–rectangular pockets of flaky pastry filled with sweet caramelized apples–succeed on both counts. The secret ingredient that binds grandma's pie with the unholy deliciousness of the golden arches? Suet.

Wittcamp gets this dry, crumbly fat–the beef version of baker-revered leaf lard–from the butchers down the block at Marlow & Daughters (they'll sell you some, too, for $1.50 a pound). It has a high melting point, which produces more pliant pastry dough than butter, and creates a supremely flaky crust. The flavor is noticeably savory, but Wittcamp deems it less so than lard. "It's a great foil for anything really sweet," she says.

Wittcamp's apple hand pies will soon be available in the storefront of Marlow & Sons and they're currently on the dessert menu next door at Diner, served with house-made ice cream and salty caramel sauce ($8). Meat pies made with the same crust and stuffed with everything from duck to Jamaican spiced beef will also be on sale at the butcher shop.