Grandma's Great Depression Era Pie Crust

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“This is a recipe I received from my grandmother. It was her go-to recipe whenever she needed a pie/pastry crust. I'm fairly certain she got it from her mother who developed it during the Great Depression. Given that history, you may notice that the ingredients are stretched very thin. Don't hesitate to add a bit more flour or water if you think the situation calls for it.”
1hr 15mins
1-2 pie crusts

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 12 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 cup shortening, divided in half
  • 4 -5 tablespoons cold water (emphasis added by grandmother. I usually measure the water out and then put it in the freezer while )


  1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  2. Cut in half of the shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. Cut in the remaining shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small peas.
  4. Sprinkle in the water 1 tablespoon at a time, gently tossing the mixture with a fork after each addition. (Do not be afraid to add more water or flour).
  5. Gather dough with hands and press into a ball. (For double crust divide into two balls).
  6. Roll out on floured surface and put into a pie pan.
  7. Bake according to whatever pie recipe you're using.
  8. NOTE: I have never pre-baked this pie crust, so I can offer no guidance on how that would work. Most generally I use this for pumpkin pies around Thanksgiving, and the crust is baked together with the pumpkin filling for 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then about an hour at 350 degrees. Use your own judgment for baking the crust.
  9. NOTE: To Double:
  10. - 2 cups all purpose flour.
  11. - 1 teaspoon salt.
  12. - 3/4 cup shortening, divided in half.
  13. - 5 tablespoons COLD water.

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