The American pie is perhaps the most ridiculed of all dishes. It has, however, great popularity and undoubted merits. Were the crust, especially the under one, always right, it would remove the most salient point of criticism. The tart pies, made with puff-paste, are a temptation to the most fastidious taste. The mince pie, probably the most indigestible of all, is the one universally accepted as a treat, and seldom refused by the scoffer. Pies have their seasons, like other good things, the apple pie being the only one served the year round. The berries and fruits, each one in their time, make most acceptable and delicious pies and tarts, while rhubarb introduces the spring, and pumpkin announces the autumn. In this day of canned and dried fruits the season need not be so strictly observed, but fresh fruits will always be preferable to preserved ones, and tradition goes far to hold the place for pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, and mince pie at the Christmas feasts.
1 quart of flour. 1 cupful of butter. 1 cupful of cold water.
This quantity gives enough for three or four pies. Cottolene makes good pastry. The shortening may be mixed, but the flavor is better where butter alone is used. The richness of pastry depends upon the amount of shortening used.
Sift the salt and flour together, reserving a little flour for the board. With a knife, cut the butter into the flour. Add the water a little at a time, and mix it in lightly with the knife; turn it onto the board, and roll it twice - that is, after it is rolled out once, fold it together and roll it again. If the paste is wanted richer for the top crust, put bits of butter over the paste when rolled; fold and roll it again several times. Fold the paste, and put it in the ice-box for an hour before using, keeping it covered. In making pastry everything should be cold, the handling light, and the hands used as little as possible. Paste will keep several days in a cool place, but should be rolled in a napkin, so it will not dry and form a crust.
Roll the paste one eighth inch thick, and a little larger than the tin. Dust the pan with flour; place the paste on it, letting it shrink all it will. Lift it from the sides to fit it into place, and press it as little as possible. Cut a narrow strip of paste, and lay around the edge; moisten it so it will stick. Brush the top of the bottom crust with white of egg, so the filling will not soak in and make it heavy. Put in the filling, and cover with another sheet of pastry. Moisten the top of the strip of pastry so the top crust will adhere to it; this gives three layers around the edge. Trim and press them lightly together. Cut several slits in the top crust to let the steam escape in cooking.
A thin piece of paste cut into fancy shape can be placed in the center for ornament if desired.
1 teaspoonful of salt. Or use one-half butter and one half lard or cottolene.
2 cupfuls of flour, ¾ cupful of butter. ½ teaspoonful of salt.
Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut in the butter as directed above. Mix in the beaten yolks, then enough water to make a paste which is not very stiff; roll it two or three times, then wrap it in a cloth, or cover it closely, and put it in the icebox for an hour. This gives enough paste for four small tart pies like those shown in illustration.