A most important factor in the making of puff-paste is having the oven at exactly the proper temperature, for even if the very best materials have been selected and have been mixed exactly as directed, the paste will be a failure if placed in an oven that is not rightly heated. The paste should be ice cold when put into the oven, which should be very hot (at least as high as 4600 Fahrenheit, if a thermometer is used).
For patties the oven should have a strong underheat, allowing them to rise to their full height before browning. If the oven should be too hot, so that the paste begins to brown as soon as put in, immediately reduce the temperature by opening the draughts of the stove, and placing in the oven a small basin of ice-water.
For Pies with Two Crusts. - Roll the paste out a-quar-ter of an inch thick, then roll it up, and cut a piece from the end of the roll. Turn the portion thus cut off on the side, pat it out flat, and roll to fit the plate. Keep the paste in a circular form, and roll evenly in every direction. Make it slightly larger than the plate, as the paste shrinks when taken from the board, and should be fulled in rather than stretched to the required size. When the paste is fitted, cut around the edge with a sharp knife dipped in flour. Roll some of the paste, and cut it into strips three-quarters of an inch wide; then wet the under-crust, and place the rim on the edge. Fill the plate with the material to be used. Roll the upper-crust larger than the plate, make a cut in the center to let the steam of baking escape, wet the rim on the pie, and put on the upper-crust with its edge even with the rim, having this crust slightly full in the center to allow for its shrinking in baking; otherwise the crust, as it is forced up by the steam within, will be drawn away from the edge. Press the rim and edge closely but lightly together to keep the juices from boiling out.
For Pies with One Crust. - The following directions apply to squash, pumpkin and custard pies. Butter the plate lightly or sprinkle it with a light dusting of flour. Roll the paste a little larger than the plate, and an-eighth of an inch thick. Cover the plate with this sheet, being careful not to shut in any air between the paste and the plate ; the paste should hang about half an inch over the edge of the plate. Roll the edge up until it rests on the edge of the plate, the rolled part being underneath; there will then be a thick edge all round the plate. Pinch this with the thumb and forefinger until a thin scalloped "wall" is formed. It is always wise to build a wall like this, because plates are not made deep enough for these pies to be made of the desired thickness.
For Patties. - Roll the paste a-quarter of an inch thick, and cut it out with a circular cutter at least two inches and a-half in diameter. With a cutter an inch and a-half in diameter, stamp out the centers from half of the circular portions, thus leaving rings of paste half an inch wide. Dip the cutters in hot water and cut quickly, that the edges of the paste may not be pressed together or cut unevenly. Rub a little white of egg in the large rounds near the edge, put on the rings, and press them lightly to make them adhere, being very careful, however, not to get any of the egg on the edges, as that would prevent the patties rising. Put a round piece of stale bread cut half an inch thick in the center of each patty, to keep the paste from rising and filling the. cavity. Bake in shallow pans lined with paper, and when done, remove the bread and the soft paste underneath. Bake the small pieces cut from the centers on a pan by themselves, as they require less time for baking. In serving place one of these pieces on top of each patty or shell, for a cover. Any kind of delicate cooked meat or fish such as chickens, sweetbreads, oysters or lobsters, may be cut in small pieces, warmed in thick cream sauce and served as an entree in hot patty shells, with a cover of the paste. Two or three rings may be put on when a deeper shell is desired.
Tarts. - For these the paste is rolled thinner than for patties, being not more than an-eighth of an inch thick ; and it is usually cut with a fluted cutter. The shapes are filled, when cold, with jelly or preserves, and a cover of paste is not used.
Tart Wells. - Cut the rounds of paste with three or four cutters of different sizes. Use the largest portion for the bottom ; cut the centers from the others, leaving the rims of different widths, and pile the latter on the whole round, with the narrowest rim at the top. Bake and fill with jelly.
Vol-au-vents. - Roll the paste half an inch thick, and for a large vol-an-vent make it nine inches in diameter. Mark the outline with an oval mold or pan, and put on two or three rings, wetting the edge of each with white of egg. Make an oval hoop of stiff paper two inches high and slightly larger than the vol-au-vent, and place it around the latter to prevent scorching. Bake this size at least an hour. These cases are used in the same manner as patties.
Rissoles. - Roll the paste thin, and cut it out with a four-inch fluted patty-cutter. Put a generous tea-spoonful of cold chicken or whatever is to be used in the rissoles in the center of each round. Wet the edges with white of egg, fold the paste over and press the edges together. Glaze with beaten egg, and fry in hot lard, or bake.