Use the very best materials in making pastry. The flour should be of a good quality and free from mould or must. The lard or butter should be good and clean and if the butter is very salty it should be washed a little in cold water. The water used should always be cold, in hot weather use ice water.
When the crust is made it makes it much more flaky and brittle if covered with a cloth and set in a cool place for half hour or hour, in summer it should be placed in the ice box.
It improves pie crust to add a little baking powder. One teaspoonful to a quart (one pound) of flour is sufficient.
Pie crust can be kept a week or more and the last will be just as good as the first, if put in a tightly covered dish, and set in a cool place in cold weather and put in the ice box in warm weather, you can then make fresh pie every day with little trouble.
Baking pastry requires a good solid heat. To get a nice bake on your pastry have the oven hot with a good bed of coals in your fire box so you can keep your oven at the right temperature. You can try your oven and see how hot it is by sprinkling a little flour in it, if the flour stays white quite awhile your oven is too cold, if the flour browns in a little while it is right, and if it browns quick and then burns it is too hot.
Pie tins should be greased with good butter or lard before being used. It adds very much to the bottom crust if tin is dusted with cracker meal, always after dusting turn tin over and knock out the loose meal.
In making liquid pies such as pumpkin, custard, etc., or hot fruit pies, it is much better to bake the bottom crust a little before putting in the filling. Always stick the crust in a few places with a fork before putting it in the oven, this keeps the steam from forming under it and raising it up. Baking a little before filling keeps the crust from being sodden.
If you do not bake the bottom crust always let the filling cool before putting it in.