In the first place, don't make either, except very semi-occasionally. Pastry, even when good, is so indigestible that children should never have it, and their elders but seldom. A nice short-cake made as on p. 209, and filled with stewed fruit, or with fresh berries mashed and sweetened, is quite as agreeable to eat, and far more wholesome. But, as people will both make and eat pie-crust, the best rules known are given.
Butter, being more wholesome than lard, should always be used if it can be afforded. A mixture of lard and butter is next best. Clarified dripping makes a good crust for meat pies, and cream can also be used. For dumplings nothing can be better than a light biscuit-crust, made as on p. 208. It is also good for meat pies.
One quart of flour; one even teacup of lard, and one of butter; one teacup of ice-water or very cold water; and a teaspooonful of salt.
Rub the lard and salt into the flour till it is dry and crumbly. Add the ice-water, and work to a smooth dough. Wash the butter, and have it cold and firm as possible. Divide it in three parts. Roll out the paste, and dot it all over with bits from one part of the butter. Sprinkle with flour, and roll up. Roll out, and repeat till the butter is gone. If the crust can now stand on the ice for half an hour, it will be nicer and more flaky. This amount will make three good-sized pies. Enough for the bottom crusts can be taken off after one rolling in of butter, thus making the top crust richer. Lard alone will make a tender, but not a flaky, paste.
One pound of flour; three-quarters of a pound of butter; one teacupful of ice-water; one teaspoonful of salt, and one of sugar; yolk of one egg.
Wash the butter; divide into three parts, reserving a bit the size of an egg; and put it on the ice for an hour. Rub the bit of butter, the salt, and sugar, into the flour, and stir in the ice-water and egg beaten together. Make into a dough, and knead on the molding-board till glossy and firm: at least ten minutes will be required. Roll out into a sheet ten or twelve inches square. Cut a cake of the ice-cold butter in thin slices, or flatten it very thin with the rolling-pin. Lay it on the paste, sprinkle with flour, and fold over the edges. Press it in somewhat with the rolling-pin, and roll out again. Always roll from you. Do this again and again till the butter is all used, rolling up the paste after the last cake is in, and then putting it on the ice for an hour or more. Have filling all ready, and let the paste be as nearly ice-cold as possible when it goes into the oven. There are much more elaborate rules; but this insures handsome paste. Make a plainer one for the bottom crusts. Cover puff paste with a damp cloth, and it may be kept on the ice a day or two before baking.
PATTIES FROM PUFF PASTE.
Roll the paste about a third of an inch thick, and cut out with a round or oval cutter about two inches in diameter. Take a cutter half an inch smaller, and press it into the piece already cut out, so as to sink half-way through the crust: this to mark out the top piece. Lay on tins, and bake to a delicate brown. They should treble in thickness by rising, and require from twenty minutes to half an hour to bake. When done, the marked-out top can easily be removed. Take out the soft inside, and fill with sweetmeats for dessert, or with minced chicken or oysters prepared as on p. 140.
GRANDMOTHER'S APPLE PIE.
Line a deep pie-plate with plain paste. Pare sour apples,—greenings are best; quarter, and cut in thin slices. Allow one cup of sugar, and quarter of a grated nutmeg mixed with it. Fill the pie-plate heaping full of the sliced apple, sprinkling the sugar between the layers. It will require not less than six good-sized apples. Wet the edges of the pie with cold water; lay on the cover, and press down securely, that no juice may escape. Bake three-quarters of an hour, or a little less if the apples are very tender. No pie in which the apples are stewed beforehand can compare with this in flavor. If they are used, stew till tender, and strain. Sweeten and flavor to taste. Fill the pies, and bake half an hour.
Wash one pint of dried apples, and put in a porcelain kettle with two quarts of warm water. Let them stand all night. In the morning put on the fire, and stew slowly for an hour. Then add one pint of sugar, a teaspoonful of dried lemon or orange rind, or half a fresh lemon sliced, and half a teaspoonful of cinnamon. Stew half an hour longer, and then use for filling the pies. The apple can be strained if preferred, and a teaspoonful of butter added. This quantity will make two pies. Dried peaches are treated in the same way.
Three lemons, juice of all and the grated rind of two; two cups of sugar; three cups of boiling water; three tablespoonfuls of corn-starch dissolved in a little cold water; three eggs; a piece of butter the size of an egg.
Pour the boiling water on the dissolved corn-starch, and boil for five minutes. Add the sugar and butter, the yolks of the eggs beaten to a froth, and last the lemon juice and rind. Line the plates with crust, putting a narrow rim of it around each one. Pour in the filling, and bake half an hour. Beat the whites to a stiff froth; add half a teacup of powdered sugar and ten drops of lemon extract, and, when the pie is baked, spread this on. The heat will cook it sufficiently, but it can be browned a moment in the oven. If to be kept a day, do not make the frosting till just before using. The whites will keep in a cold place. Orange pie can be made in the same way.
SWEET-POTATO PIE OR PUDDING.
One pound of hot, boiled sweet potato rubbed through a sieve; one cup of butter; one heaping cup of sugar; half a grated nutmeg; one glass of brandy; a pinch of salt; six eggs.
Add the sugar, spice, and butter to the hot potato. Beat whites and yolks separately, and add, and last the brandy. Line deep plates with nice paste, making a rim of puff paste. Fill with the mixture, and bake till the crust is done,—about half an hour. Wickedly rich, but very delicious. Irish potatoes can be treated in the same way, and are more delicate.
SQUASH OR PUMPKIN PIE.
Prepare and steam as in directions on p. 194. Strain through a sieve. To a quart of the strained squash add one quart of new milk, with a spoonful or two of cream if possible; one heaping cup of sugar into which has been stirred a teaspoonful of salt, a heaping one of ginger, and half a one of cinnamon. Mix this with the squash, and add from two to four well-beaten eggs. Bake in deep plates lined with plain pie-crust. They are done when a knife-blade on being run into the middle comes out clean. About forty minutes will be enough. For pumpkin pie half a cup of molasses may be added, and the eggs can be omitted, substituting half a cup of flour mixed with the sugar and spice before stirring in. A teaspoonful of butter can also be added.
CHERRY AND BERRY PIES.
Have a very deep plate, and either no under crust save a rim, or a very thin one. Allow a cup of sugar to a quart of fruit, but no spices. Stone cherries. Prick the upper crust half a dozen times with a fork to let out the steam.
For rhubarb or pie-plant pies, peel the stalks; cut them in little bits, and fill the pie. Bake with an upper crust.
Line and rim deep plates with pastry, a thin custard pie being very poor. Beat together a teacupful of sugar, four eggs, and a pinch of salt, and mix slowly with one quart of milk. Fill the plate up to the pastry rim after it is in the oven, and bake till the custard is firm, trying, as for squash pies, with a knife-blade.
MINCE-MEAT FOR PIES.
Two pounds of cold roast or boiled beef, or a small beef-tongue, boiled the day beforehand, cooled and chopped; one pound of beef-suet, freed from all strings, and chopped fine as powder; two pounds of raisins stoned and chopped; one pound of currants washed and dried; six pounds of chopped apples; half a pound of citron cut in slips; two pounds of brown sugar; one pint of molasses; one quart of boiled cider; one pint of wine or brandy, or a pint of any nice sirup from sweet pickles may be substituted; two heaping tablespoonfuls of salt; one teaspoonful of pepper; three tablespoonfuls of ground cinnamon; two of allspice; one of clove; one of mace; three grated nutmegs; grated rind and juice of three lemons; a cupful of chopped, candied orange or lemon peel.
Mix spices and salt with sugar, and stir into the meat and suet. Add the apples, and then the cider and other wetting, stirring very thoroughly. Lastly, mix in the fruit. Fill and bake as in apple pies. This mince-meat will keep two months easily. If it ferments at all, put over the fire in a porcelain-lined kettle, and boil half an hour. Taste, and judge for yourselves whether more or less spice is needed. Butter can be used instead of suet, and proportions varied to taste.
RAMMEKINS, OR CHEESE STRAWS.
One pound of puff paste; one cup of good grated cheese. Roll the paste half an inch thick; sprinkle on half the cheese; press in lightly with the rolling-pin; roll up, and roll out again, using the other half of the cheese. Fold, and roll about a third of an inch thick. Cut in long, narrow strips, four or five inches long and half an inch wide, and bake in a quick oven to a delicate brown. Excellent with chocolate at lunch, or for dessert with fruit.
THE EASIEST WAY IN HOUSEKEEPING AND COOKING.
Adapted to Domestic Use or Study in Classes