Depression Era Water Pie

In the midst of the Great Depression, when resources were scarce and creativity was essential, a humble yet delicious dessert emerged – Depression Era Water Pie. This simple yet scrumptious pie has stood the test of time, offering a taste of history with every bite.

Join us on a journey to discover the secrets of this delightful treat, complete with a detailed recipe and intriguing insights.

Depression Era Water Pie takes us back to a time when people had to make the most of what they had. It’s a pie that embodies resourcefulness and the ability to find joy in simplicity. Let’s delve into the details of this intriguing dessert.


For the Crust:


All-purpose flour 1 ½ cups
Vegetable shortening ½ cup
Salt 1 tsp
Ice-cold water 3-4 tbsp

For the Filling:

Granulated sugar 1 cup
All-purpose flour 2 tbsp
Salt 1 pinch
Water 2 cups
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Butter 1 tbsp
Ground nutmeg A pinch


Prepare the Crust

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  2. Cut in the vegetable shortening with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Gradually add the ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll Out the Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough into a circle to fit your pie dish.
  3. Gently place the dough in the pie dish, trimming any excess and crimping the edges decoratively.

Prepare the Filling

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Gradually stir in the water.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and comes to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and butter.

Assemble and Bake

  1. Pour the hot filling into the prepared pie crust.
  2. Sprinkle a pinch of ground nutmeg over the top.


  1. Place the pie in the preheated oven.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C), then reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C).
  3. Continue baking for an additional 30-35 minutes or until the pie is set and the crust is golden brown.
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