I have not baked a pie from scratch in more than ten years but it is national pie day today and I have vowed to try some of my grandmother’s recipes that I have recently digitized for the family. So I find myself working on her famous homemade pie crust today. I should explain that this is her second most famous pie crust recipe, as her most famous calls for pure lard. I opted for this vegetable shorting crust in deference to our cholesterol levels. Please excuse the less than perfect lattice crust, I am a long way from a pastry chef.

My grandmother's handwritten recipe

My grandmother’s handwritten recipe

Grandma Swan’s Fool Proof Pie Crust


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups shortening
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup cold water


  1. Mix the first four ingredients until gooey. I use a food processor with a plastic dough blade. My grandma did it by hand I am sure. In a separate dish beat the egg, vinegar and water together. Slowly add them to the flour mixture either using your hands or the food processor. This is smooth, sticky, and fragile dough.
  2. Place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes before you roll out on a floured board. You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to a week or freeze.
  3. This is enough dough for one large pie bottom and top or two regular pies with lattice tops.
  4. To make lattice tops I use a small cutting board as a straight edge and cut long strips that I then weave one over the other. After woven I use a fork to crimp the edges. Click here to enlarge below image.

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