Pie Love

I love pie and so did my grandmother, she made the best pies. My grandmother had a lot to say about pies. Here is one article describing the variety, history and wonder of pies and a good pie crust. There are some great pie crust recipes at the end.

April 1983

Pies have been a favorite food since pioneer days when they were eaten for breakfast as well as dinner and supper. Every home had a pantry just off the kitchen. Here was the pie safe – an enclosed cupboard, often with doors of perforated tin to allow for circulation of air. Inside were shelves set just wide enough apart to accommodate the depth of a pie. A lot of pies could be stored in a small area.

In many early day households one specific day each week was pie baking day. Often 16 to 30 pies were made, enough to supply the hungry family for the next week. Since the basic ingredients were homegrown they were a cheap source of food energy. Besides everyone liked to eat pie.

Each fall hogs were butchered for the year’s supply of cured meat. The day after the killing the women rendered the fat and made lard. This was stored in large stone jars in the coolest place available.

Wheat was ground into flour at a nearby mill so the makings for pie crust, flour and lard, were always on hand.

If the cow was fresh and the hens laying, creamy custard pies could be made. Burnt sugar cream pie with a meringue topping was another variation of the basic materials – eggs, milk, lard and flour.

In summertime home orchards yielded apples, peaches and cherries for pies. Here on the plains the fruit of the sturdy mulberry tree made a marvelously juicy pie. Farther east wild blackberries grew in the woods and the children were dent to pick them.

I mustn’t forget to mention tart pie plant growing in kitchen gardens that are so popular as a pie filling. It’s called rhubarb now.

When winter came, dried apples and peaches as well as canned fruit were used as fillings. When all else failed the resourceful housewife came up with vinegar pie which used sugar, vinegar, flour, spices and water and was baked in a crust like custard pie.

Another eggless type filling was sweet cream, thickened with flour, laced with sugar, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

In recent times some nutritionists have laid a guilt trip on anyone making pie, not to mention the horrible consequences of eating it. It’s peculiar that obesity is an affliction of modern times when you remember the past high pie consumption rate without fat piling up on the body.

I notice that today pie still disappears fast at farm auctions and church suppers. People just plain enjoy a perfect piece of pie with a flaky crust and a flavorful filling. Here are some basic recipes for crust for you to compare with your own and maybe try – also one fruit pie recipe.


Flaky Pastry
2 cups sifted flour ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening or 2/3 cup lard 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shorting with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.Sprinkle ice water over crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms. Press into ball. Use as directed in pie recipe.
Makes pastry for one 2-crust 8 or 9 inch pie.
Electric Mixer Pastry
1 ¾ cup flour ½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening ¼ cup iced water
Combine flour, salt and shortening. Mix 30 seconds, until coarse crumbs form using mixer at low speed.Add ice water all at once and mix on low speed for 15 seconds. Press firmly into ball. Use as directed in pie recipe. Makes 1 two-crust pie.
Country Pastry
2 cups sifted flour ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ cup boiling water
¾ cup lard 1 tablespoon milk
Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Pour boiling water over lard in another bowl. Stir until blended. Stir in milk. Add dry ingredients to lard mixture. Stir until dough forms.Chill 1 hour. Use as directed in recipe.
Makes 1 two-crust pie.
Apple- Cherry Pie
3 ½ cups thinly sliced tart apples 2 cups sour red cherries, drained
1 cup sugar ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
Roll out larger half of pastry to 13-inch circle. Line 9-inch pan with pastry. Trim to ½ inch beyond rim of pie plate.Combine all ingredients except butter. Pour into pastry shell. Dot with butter.Roll out remaining pastry to 11-inch circle. Cut slits. Place top crust over filling and trim to 1-inch beyond rimof pie plate. Fold top crust under lower crust and form a ridge. Pinch edges.Bake at 400° for 50 minutes. Cool on rack.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] Below is an article from May 1983. It is part 2 of a series on pies and pie crusts. The first part can be found here. […]

  2. 2

    […] is the final part of the 3 part series on pie crust. The first part can be found here, and the second […]

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