Great Depression Water Pie


Ever heard of a Water Pie? It is often referred to as the Great Depression Water Pie. Six bare-bones ingredients blended together create a delicious easy pie. As I think of the depression, we learn about that time of history in school. I am fortunate enough to hear first-hand stories. One of my grandmothers grew up in the depression. As a little girl, she remembers people knocking on the door and asking her mother for food. I would read stories of this in school, but to have firsthand experience brings gratitude to how much we have today in our lives. I have found that I love depression era fabrics, quilt patterns, and recipes of a time that can teach us so much in developing character and our integrity in creating beauty, clothes, and delicious meals.

This pie is so delicious and yet so simple. I will admit, I was apprehensive to try a recipe so simple and a wonderful flavor which has a tint of lemon that can be detected. Hygge times are so important to me and making memories with my family. This pie is Hygge; comfort food, people gathering, laughs, and memories. I look forward to sharing this pie with my family as a piece of family history and hearing stories of generations ago and how we can share with others this year.

Pie Hint:  This pie is cooked for 40 minutes and then another 30 minutes at a lower temperature. During the second 30 minutes of cooking be sure and use a pie shield to protect your crust. Kitchen Kneads has everything you will need or even want to begin your pie baking experiences or to add new gadgets to your kitchen if you are an experienced pie baker.

Great Depression Water Pie

  • 1 9-inch deep dish pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 Ttablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 5 pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 400 and set empty pie crust on a baking sheet.
  2. Pour 1 ½ cups water into the pie crust.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together flour and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over water in crust.  Don’t stir.
  4. Drizzle vanilla over water in pie crust. Place pats of butter on top of this.
  5. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and cover sides of crust with a crust shield if needed to prevent burning.  Continue cooking for additional 30 minutes.
  6. Pie will be watery when you pull it out of the oven but will gel as it cools. Allow to cool completely and then cover and place in the fridge until chilled before cutting.

This pie doesn’t have a lot of color. Gardens were huge in the depression. I have garnished this pie with mint, blackberries, and raspberries. These 3 crops that grow easily and wild and to add color and flavor. With so many families having livestock whipped cream would have been available as well. Enjoy!!

Recipe from Southern Plate