coffee break pie crust

my grandparents owned and ran a restaurant in Three Hills, Alberta called ‘The Coffee Break’…  most of my memories come from when I was in elementary school and I’d go there after school and hang out…

the best memories were watching my Grandma Reed make pie… she was so great at making a big pie mess but not so great at cleaning it up! some people hate the mess of a pie and therefore have given up on making it…  but there is something about the mess and the dough that I just wanted to sink my hands into from a very early age… 

my Grandma passed away after struggling with Parkinson’s and left to me her pie plates, rolling pin and so many memories of making pies together…  when I first got married and realized I might need to make the odd pie… she mixed up in a old white ice cream container (the really big ones) the base of the pie dough… the flour, lard, baking powder and salt…  and then you’d just have to grab some of this and add the egg, vinegar, water mix and you’re set…

what she didn’t realize is I wasn’t running a restaurant and didn’t need that much base for pie crust… mould set in and I felt guilty that I hadn’t used it all up to make pies…    
there was never a time that I showed up at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and there was not a pie… apple, saskatoon berry, pecan, coconut cream, banana cream… always a pie… and always my Grandma with her coffee and ready to listen to me chat…  or at Christmas with pie and we’d watch reruns of I Love Lucy…  or whenever the Royal Family did anything we’d have pie and watch with captive interest what Princess Diana or the Queen were up to…

Grandma always sang happy birthday at her restaurant … people would get a piece of pie and she’d belt out ‘happy birthday’ in the craziest, loudest voice ever and Grandpa would shake his head and tell her to hush up (I always assumed he loved it) …

if there is anything I have learnt in life… pie brings people together…  you can eat leftover pie in the morning with a coffee…  or with tea in the afternoon … or when you are binge watching HomeLand late at night…  and it always satisfies …

because pie… more than any other dessert … brings up so many great memories and not only feeds your waistline but feeds your soul …  everyone has a Grandma or four (I got lucky) that have made them pies and that have in doing so made them feel welcome, loved and taken cared of…    

Coffee Break Pie Crust


  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb Tenderflake lard (2 1/3 cups Crisco)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • water


  • mix the flour, baking powder and salt and cut in with a pastry blender the lard
  • beat 1 egg and add 1 tbsp of vinegar and enough water to make 1 cup of liquid
  • add to the lard/flour mixture and mix until it comes together
  • separate this into four balls and wrap them with plastic wrap
  • put in the refrigerator until you use them

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