My ancestors, and many of my wife Molly’s, were mostly farmers in the 1800s and textile mill workers in the 1900s. They lived humbly, mostly with few resources. That meant they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on fancy foods. They had to make do with simple, old-fashioned recipes with the basic ingredients available to them. Those kinds of recipes are my favorites of the ones that have survived and been passed down to me through the generations.
This recipe is for a Water Pie. It’s not a family recipe, rather it’s an online discovery my mom shared with me. But it embodies the kind of simplicity and creativity that kept previous generations of my family alive and well-fed.
Don’t fret about the pie’s name or its short list of ingredients. Water does comprise a major portion of the filling, but I guarantee you that the sugar, vanilla, flour and butter will do the trick if you follow the recipe.
My wife Molly and I have learned our favorite #FoodieScore recipe finds are those with the shortest ingredient and directions lists. Water Pie certainly qualifies for that description. (And I must add here that, while this post is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Aldi, that’s where I purchase the majority of the baking staples I use in the recipes you find here on our blog. They offer the best deals on the products I need to make tasty pies like this one!)
When this pie cooks, it creates a filling that almost separates into specific layers, one that’s gooey and one that’s a crunchy, sugary coating. It’s like a custard pie in some ways, but it has another unique quality to it that we can’t quite categorize.
Any way you slice it, though, the Water Pie is a winner. Even if they never baked and ate this exact pie, through long-ago decades of American and global wars and economic panics and depressions I’m sure this is the kind of recipe they survived on!
What You Need:
1 ½ cups water
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
1 Pie Crust
What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and set pan with pie crust on a baking sheet.
2. Pour water into pie crust.
3. In a small bowl, blend flour and sugar. Sprinkle mixture over water in crust. Do not stir into the water!
4. Drizzle vanilla over water in crust.
5. Place pats of butter on top of water mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
7. Reduce heat to 375 and cover crust if needed to prevent burning. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Allow to rest and cool at least an hour before cutting and serving to give time for filling to set. The longer you wait, the better the pie will be set.