This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Review Biscuit, p. 105, and Chap. 7, Fats and Oils.
Tender, crisp pastry is more easily digestible than that which is tough or soggy.
To make pastry flaky all the ingredients must be kept cold, and the paste must be handled lightly and rapidly at every stage.
The following recipe makes pastry for one upper and one under crust. The fat may be butter, lard, a substitute for butter or lard, or two of these.
Fat, 1/2 c.
Cold water (ice-water, if possible), about 3 tb.
Mix flour and salt. Cut in the fat with a fork. Add water till the mass just holds together. Roll out, with light strokes forward and to right and left. Pat gently with the rolling-pin. Do not bear down or roll backward and forward. Try to keep paste rectangular. When about half an inch thick, fold the right-hand third over, then the left-hand third.
The paste is now in three layers.
Roll out again. Lift the edge nearest you and roll the paste up. If it sticks at any time, free it with a floured knife and sprinkle flour under it. If it is not to be used at once, wrap it in a damp cloth and put it in a cold place.
A plainer pastry may be made with less shortening and the addition of 1 1/2 t. baking-powder.
Fill enamelled pie-plate one inch or more deep, rounding full of sliced apples. Sprinkle with sugar (about one-half cup for moderately tart apples) and with nutmeg or cinnamon. Add, if you like, one teaspoonful of lemon juice and one of butter, cut into bits. Invert a small cup in the centre to hold up the crust.
Cut off a little less than half of the roll of pastry. Place cut end up. Roll it out into a sheet as nearly circular as possible and about one inch and a half greater in width than the top of the pie-plate. It should be about one-eighth of an inch thick. Double it. Make a few cuts along the doubled edge to let out steam. Lay the doubled pastry on one-half of the pie. Unfold it. Turn the edges under and press them down. Trim edges to within three-fourths of an inch of the plate. Bake until the crust is a delicate brown, about 35 minutes.
Peach, rhubarb, and other fruit pies may be made in the same way, except that spice is not used, and the quantity of sugar must be varied according to the acidity of the fruit.
When using lemon, cream, custard, or similar filling, bake the under crust first by itself. If crust and filling are cooked together, the crust will not bake crisp enough to be wholesome.
Line pie-plate with pastry rolled out as directed above.
Fit it in easily. Do not stretch it. Trim close to plate, slanting knife outward. Prick it with a fork and bake.
Watch for blisters which form during baking and prick them before they harden.
Sugar, 3/4 c. Cornstarch, 2 tb. Flour, 2 tb. Boiling water, 3/4 c.
Butter, 1 t.
Yolks of 2 eggs, beaten. Lemon juice, 3 tb. Grated rind of 1 lemon.
Whites of 2 eggs.
Powdered sugar, 2 tb.
Lemon juice, 1 tb.
Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Stir in the boiling water gradually. Cook till thick, stirring. Stir in the other ingredients and let mixture cool. When the crust is baked, turn the mixture into it. Spread the meringue over the top and return to the oven until the meringue is slightly brown.
Line a pie-plate with pastry as directed above. Put in the filling. Moisten the rim of the pastry with cold water. Put on the top crust. Press the edges together and trim.
For further development of topics treated in this chapter see: -
Farmer : Boston Cooking-school Cook Book.