These may be made of any size, and with any kind of meat, poultry, or game, but the whole must be entirely free from bone. When the crust is not to be eaten, it is made simply with a few ounces of lard or butter dissolved in boiling water, with which the flour is to be mixed (with a spoon at first, as the heat would be too great for the hands, but afterwards with the fingers) to a smooth and firm paste. The French, who excel greatly in this form of pie,* use for it a good crust which they call a pate brisée (see page 252), and this is eaten usually with the meat which it contains. In either case the paste must be sufficiently stiff to retain its form perfectly after it is raised, as it will have no support to prevent its falling. The celebrated Monsieur Ude gives the following directions for moulding it to a proper shape without difficulty; and as inexperienced cooks generally find a little at first in giving a good appearance to these pies, we copy his instructions for them: "Take a lump of paste proportionate to the size of the pie you are to make, mould it in the shape of a sugar loaf, put it upright on the table, then with the palms of your hands flatten the sides of it; when you have equalized it all round and it is quite smooth, squeeze the middle of the point down to half the height of the paste," then hollow the inside by pressing it with the fingers, and in doing this be careful to keep it in every part of equal thickness.
Fill it,* roll out the cover, egg the edges, press them securely together, make a hole in the centre, lay a roll of paste round it, and encircle this with a wreath of leaves, or ornament the pie in any other way, according to the taste; glaze it. with well-beaten yolk of egg, and bake it from two to three hours in a well-heated oven if it be small, and from four to five hours if it be large, though the time must be regulated in some measure by the nature of the contents; as well as by the size of the dish.
* We remember having partaken of one which was brought from Bordeaux, and which contained a small boned ham of delicious flavour, surmounted by boned partridges, above which were placed fine larks likewise boned; all the interstices were filled with superexcellent forcemeat; and the whole, being a solid mass of nourishing hands, would have formed an admirable traveller's larder in itself.
We know not if we have succeeded in making the reader comprehend that this sort of pie (with the exception of the cover, for which a portion must at first be taken off) is made from one solid lump of paste, which, after having been shaped into a cone, as Monsieur Ude directs, or into a high round, or oval form, is hollowed by pressing down the centre with the knuckles, and continuing to knead the inside equally round with the one hand, while the other is pressed close to the outside. It is desirable that the mode of doing this should be once seen by the learner, if possible, as mere verbal instructions are scarcely sufficient to enable the quite-inexperienced cook to comprehend at once the exact form and appearance which should be given to the paste.