Today’s pie-making is much easier than it was for our ancestors who did not have the advantage of regulated heat in their ovens. One rule that guided them was “If you can hold your hand in the heated oven while you count to twenty” the oven was the right temperature for baking pastry.
The best pastry was made in the “cold room” where not only the ingredients but the board, the rolling pin, and even the hands, were cold enough to ensure that the
shortening would not soften until it was popped into the oven, resulting in the desired flakiness that was the measure of good pastry.
The above taken from: Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale