No matter what it is, oatmeal cookies to chicken pot pie, it always tastes better when grandma makes it. Why else would secret family recipes be such a historical cliché. Standing next to grandma and following her step-by-step as she mixes, rolls and elegantly crimps her pie dough, still doesn’t create that same flaky, buttery flavor that hers ignites, but it’s pretty close. Here’s how to make pie dough (almost) like your grandma.

Things You'll Need

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, sift to combine flour, salt and sugar together. Add lard by pieces and mix until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of fat.

In a separate bowl, combine vinegar, egg, ice water and cream of tartar and whisk until whipped. Slowly add wet mixture to dry ingredients and gently combine together with your hands.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape it into into 2 or 4 discs. Do not knead the dough. Over handling the dough is your worst enemy. The less you handle it, the more tender, light, flaky and delicious it will be.

Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

After the crust has chilled, remove one disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. The crust should be about an 1/8 of an inch thick.

Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate and press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Fold the edges under and crimp.

Brush the crust with an egg wash and bake at 375 degrees F until just browned. Makes 4 single crusts.


  • Chill your fat product before working with it. Chilling will prevent the fat pieces from getting creamed into the flour.

  • If the edges of the crust are getting too brown, cover the crust with tin foil while baking.