This section is from the book "The Epicurean", by Charles Ranhofer. Also available from Amazon: The Epicurean, a Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art.
, Sift a pound of flour on the table, divide it in four even parts and use one of these to make the leaven by forming it in a circle and placing three quarters of an ounce of yeast in the center, diluting with a little warm milk to obtain a soft paste; roll this into a ball, cut it crosswise on the top with two cuts of the knife and lay it in a floured vessel; cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a mild temperature to double its size. Pile the remainder of the flour into a hillock, make a hole in the center to form a hollow and in it lay an ounce of sugar, a spare half ounce of salt (according to the salt ness of the butter), six ounces of butter and six eggs. Mix all the ingredients well together and work the flour in slowly, then begin to knead the paste so that it becomes smooth and acquires a body slowly adding three more eggs and four ounces of butter; continue to knead until again quite smooth with plenty of body, then mix in the leaven, wrapping it lightly in the paste and cutting the whole in every direction until thoroughly mingled and the paste is finished, then add to it two ounces of seeded Malaga raisins, two ounces of Sultana or Smyrna currants softened in water, two ounces of cherries cut in four and two ounces of finely cut up citron.
Lay the paste in a vessel, cover with a cloth and let rise to a third more than its size, then break it up with a spoon; the paste is now ready to be used.