Depression Era Water Pie:

Depression Era Water Pie: A Simple and Nostalgic Dessert 

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Step back in time and indulge in the simplicity of Depression Era Water Pie, a classic recipe that proves delicious desserts can be made with basic pantry staples. With just a few ingredients, you can create a pie that’s rich in history and flavor. Join us as we explore the ingredients, instructions, cook notes, variations, and more for this delightful treat.


  • 1 deep dish 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons butter, sliced


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the unbaked pie crust in a pie dish.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine the water, flour, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  3. Add Flavorings:
    • Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and sliced butter until the butter is fully melted and incorporated into the mixture.
  4. Assemble the Pie:
    • Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust, spreading it evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake to Perfection:
    • Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown.
  6. Cool and Serve:
    • Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving. Serve at room temperature or chilled, as desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Texture: The filling of Depression Era Water Pie has a unique texture that is reminiscent of custard. Don’t be alarmed by its thin consistency before baking—it will thicken as it cooks.
  • Flavor Enhancements: Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to the filling for a warm and comforting flavor profile.
  • Crust Options: While a traditional pie crust works wonderfully for this recipe, you can also experiment with graham cracker crusts or even cookie crusts for a different twist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Is it normal for the filling to be watery before baking? A: Yes, the filling will appear thin and watery before baking, but it will thicken as it cooks in the oven.

Q: Can I use a pre-made pie crust for this recipe? A: Absolutely! A store-bought pie crust works just as well as a homemade one and saves time in the kitchen.

Q: Can I freeze leftovers of Depression Era Water Pie? A: Yes, you can freeze any leftover slices of pie in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

  1. serving the pie with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of lemon zest on top.
  2. Coconut Infusion: Stir in shredded coconut to the filling mixture for a tropical twist. Alternatively, top the baked pie with toasted coconut flakes for added texture and flavor.
  3. Nutty Addition: Sprinkle chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts over the top of the pie before baking for a crunchy contrast to the creamy filling.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Whipped Cream: Serve each slice of Depression Era Water Pie with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream for a light and airy accompaniment.
  2. Ice Cream Pairing: Elevate the indulgence by serving the pie alongside a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream for a delightful contrast of temperatures and textures.
  3. Fresh Fruit Garnish: Garnish each slice with fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries for a burst of color and freshness.

Healthier Alternatives:

  1. Sugar Substitutes: Explore options for using alternative sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or stevia to reduce the overall sugar content of the pie while still maintaining its sweetness.
  2. Whole Grain Crust: Opt for a whole grain or gluten-free pie crust to increase the fiber content and create a heartier base for the pie.
  3. Lightened-Up Filling: Use light or reduced-fat versions of the butter and condensed milk to lower the calorie and fat content of the pie while preserving its creamy texture.

Embrace the simplicity and charm of Depression Era Water Pie as you embark on a culinary journey through history. With its humble yet delightful combination of ingredients, this timeless dessert captures the essence of a bygone era and invites you to savor the nostalgia with every bite. Whether enjoyed as a comforting treat on a cozy evening or shared with friends and family during gatherings, this pie is sure to evoke fond memories and create new ones alike. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and prepare to experience the magic of Depression Era Water Pie firsthand—it’s a taste of tradition that’s simply irresistible!

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