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How to make Flaky Pie Crust from the year 1887 – Pie Recipes more…

How to make Flaky Pie Crust from 1887

Posted by Warren

Pie tips and help. Text version is below image.

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887

flaky pie crust recipe 1887

This is a funny way of adding flakes to your pie crust. It is almost as if the baker forgot to add the butter and had to improvise.

Anyway the crust might have the appearance of being flaky, but what is behind it will be tough.

Be sure to read through it over and over. It seems some of the steps were left out. So you will need to figure them out on your own.

How to make a Flaky Pie Crust Top from 1887

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887


In making a pie, after you have rolled out your top crust, cut it about the right size, spread it over with butter, then shake sifted flour over the butter enough to cover it well. Cut a slit in the middle, place it over the top of your pie, and fasten the edges as any pie.

Now take the pie on your left hand, and a dipper of cold water in your right hand; tip the pie slanting a little, pour over the water sufficiently to rinse off the flour.

Enough flour will stick to the butter to fry into the crust, to give it a fine, blistered, flaky look, which many cooks think is much better than rolling the butter into the crust.

A Cookbook with vintage pie recipes


This is one of America’s most enduring cookbooks. It was in print, under varying names and guises, for fifty some years and has been reprinted, in full or in part, throughout the 20th century. Early editions were printed on poor quality paper and so have not survived in easily usable form which makes them rare to find.

This the White House Cookbook the first edition.

It had a frontispiece photograph of the wife’s of the President of the United States. This practice continued for much of the publishing of the book.

The interesting fact is that this cookbook was and still is a very popular American cookbook and has been for more than a century.

This cookbook is quite comprehensive with many household hints and tips in addition to hundreds of recipes, some being for pies.

Pie Crust Recipe made with Lard and Butter

—Ingredients and instructions are not the actual vintage recipe but is provided for reference purposes.


Pastry dough – double crust

2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (Red bag)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 ice cold water (do not use all at once)

1 teaspoon cold canola oil

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold leaf lard

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (any brand wrapped in foil)

Directions making the dough

Need help making
a flaky pie crust?

1. Add all your dry ingredients to a chilled glass bowl and tossed the mixture with a fork.

2. Cube your fats into small pieces and add to the bowl.

3. Using just your finger tips rub the cold fat into the flour. Stop when the mixture resembles cracker crumbs and tiny peas.

4. Whip the ice cold water and oil until it looks cloudy and the mixture looks a little foamy. Quickly add two thirds of this to the dry ingredients and toss with a fork. If it is not coming together add the remaining liquid.


Do Not over work the dough.
It will make it tough.

5. The dough should look somewhat dry but come together when squeezed in your hands.

6. Now divide this mixture in half to make two balls by squeezing it all together. Compress and flatten the balls to form two large disks.

7. Wrap disks tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes. You can freeze them for two months by adding a foil wrap to the covered disks.

8. Your dough is now ready for your favorite pie recipe.

Pie Crust Success

For a flaky pie crust do not cut in the butter or fat to the point of a fine cornmeal look. You want to still see some chunks of fat in the mixture before adding your liquid.

These chunks of fat is what creates the flakes.

For this to happen the dough must stay below 60 degrees. So use very cold ingredients or work in a cold environment.

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