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.
This pyramid, though quite an old idea, is always sure to be well received. The great variety of its details, and the figures which can be added to it, representing scenes of country life, give it an attractive appearance which can hardly be obtained in architectural pyramids. Although its execution offers no great difficulties, yet great care and exactitude must be taken in the rutting out of the different pieces of which it is composed, for there is the essential point for its successful completion. The cut is a reduction of the original, and can thus serve as a basis for its execution, either in multiplying or diminishing its dimensions, according to the desired size of the pyramid. Cut out with great precision patterns of strong cardboard, and, if to be used for nougat, oil them well. The part of the pyramid representing the walls is made of white nougat (No. 3622) with chopped almonds, rolled on the marble to about one-quarter of an inch thick, and with the help of oiled patterns cut out rapidly the windows and the doors. The roof is of nougat covered with imitation of tiles made of almond paste (No. l25) colored a light chocolate or a light brick red, rolled to a sheet one-sixteenth of an inch thick.
Cut out with a tin circular cutter and then put on, beginning with the bottom layer, each layer successively overlapping the other. The large platform and the doors are of ordinary brown nougat (No. 3621), the railing of lightly colored chocolate sugar, and composed of pieces cut with a knife and stuck together with melted sugar. The windows are made of sugar boiled to three hundred and thirty degrees, very clear, rolled thin and placed in the interior.
The rustic beams are made of chocolate pulled sugar (No. 3618), the stairways of brown nougat and the wings of the mill are composed of four pieces of wire, covered and rolled in brown cooked sugar, and of white pulled sugar melted and rolled thin, and cut out with scissors. The little sticks across the wings are made of lightly colored chocolate sugar and put on about one-eighth of an inch apart. The rock or base is twelve inches high, and is composed of two wood platforms, supported by a wood framework, around which bunches of crumpled paper are put on, which is then covered with green nougat, rolled thin and garnished with herbs and plants imitated with green pulled sugar. This whole pyramid can also be made of clear sugar exclusively, boiled to three hundred and thirty-five degrees, very transparent, melted over and poured on a tracing of patterns on marble and tilled in as described. Or, further yet, of gum paste (No. 3624) exclusively, in natural colors or white, taking great care, however, not to set up the pieces until each one is perfectly dry.
The windows could then be imitated by thin sheets of mica or gelatine, and the base of gam paste covered with royal icing (No. 101). Or, the ambitious workman can imitate with gum paste, a miller, a bag on his shoulder, going up the stairway, or two peasants eating and drinking, or a peasant woman with children around her, and many other subjects of country life and customs.