This section is from the book "Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual Of Home Economies", by Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Philadelphia Cook Book.
"If 'twere done when' tis done,
Then 'twere welt 'twere done quickly." - MACBETH.
1 teaspoonful of sugar
White of one egg
A cup or more of ice-water
Scald a large bowl, then fill it with cold water, and let stand until the bowl is cold. Wash the hands in hot soapsuds, then rinse them in cold water, but do not dry them. This prevents the butter from sticking to the hands and bowl.
Turn the water out of the bowl, and nearly fill it with ice-water, put the butter into it, and wash by working it with the hands under the water until it becomes soft and elastic; then pat it into a cake, and put it on the ice until wanted. Put the flour on a marble slab or a very large meat plate, make a well in the centre of it, and put into this well a lump of the washed butter the size of an egg, the white of the egg, sugar, and salt. Now work this with the thumb and two fingers to a paste, add gradually the ice-water, and gradually work in the flour. When all is worked in, knead as you would bread for five minutes, then cut the paste into halves, roll out each half into a sheet, quickly break the butter into bits, and lay it over one sheet; dredge it thickly with flour, cover with the other sheet, pound lightly with the rolling-pin; roll from you, into a long, thin sheet; now fold in first the sides, then the ends; turn the paste around so that the fold will run to and from you. Now roll from you again, fold as before, place it on a tin pie dish, and stand it away on the ice for fifteen minutes, then roll and fold twice again, and again stand on the ice. Do this until you have rolled it eight times. Let it stand on the ice over night, and it is ready for use.
If then rolled in a napkin, and put in a cold, dry place, it will keep nicely for one week.
It is almost impossible for any one to make good puff paste from a recipe without first seeing it made.
The most important part of all is the oven, for if you have used the best materials, have mixed them as directed, and then put the paste in an oven not properly heated, you have wasted both materials and labor. The paste should be icy cold when it is put into the oven, and the oven should be very hot (4600 Fahr.).
For patties, the oven should have a strong under-heat, allowing them to rise their full height before browning. Then put them on the grate to brown. If the oven should be too hot, and the paste begins to brown as soon as it is put in the oven, quickly open the draughts of the stove and stand a small basin of ice-water in the oven. This will immediately reduce the temperature.
3 cups of sifted flour 1 teaspoonful of salt
1 cup or a half-pound of butter 1 teaspoonful of sugar
Nearly a cup of ice-water
Have everything as cold as possible. In warm weather, stand the butter and flour in the refrigerator several hours before using them. Sift the flour, measure, and put into a large mixing-bowl; add the salt and sugar; then place the butter in the centre of the flour, and with a sharp knife cut it quickly into small pieces, at the same time mixing it with the flour; now add the ice-water gradually, lifting with the knife that portion which you have moistened first, and pushing it to one side of the bowl, wet another portion, and so continue until all is moistened. Then cut and mix it together until you can lift it from the bowl with the knife. (A word of caution: add the water very carefully, wetting only the dry flour, never stirring twice in the same place.) Dredge the baking-board lightly with flour, turn the paste out on this, dredge with flour, and roll lightly and quickly from you into a long, thin sheet. Fold first the sides and then the ends, turn the paste around and roll from you again, as before; fold and roll again; then fold and stand on the ice until wanted.
To have this paste a perfect success, the materials should be very cold, mixed and rolled quickly, using as little flour as possible in finishing.