Have all the materials cold when making pastry. Handle as little as
possible. Place in a bowl 3-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoonful salt and 1
cup good, sweet lard. Cut through with a knife into quite small pieces
and mix into a dough with a little less than a half cup of cold water.
Use only enough water to make dough hold together. This should be done
with a knife or tips of the fingers. The water should be poured on the
flour and lard carefully, a small quantit
at a time, and never twice
at the same place. Be careful that the dough is not too moist. Press
the dough with the hands into a lump, but do not knead. Take enough of
the dough for one pie on the bake board, roll lightly, always in one
direction, line greased pie tins and fill crust. If fruit pies,
moisten the edge of the lower crust, cover with top crust, which has
been rolled quite thin. A knife scraped across the top crust several
times before placing over pie causes the crust to have a rough, flaky,
rich-looking surface when baked. Cut small vents in top crust to allow
steam to escape. Pinch the edges of fruit pies well together to
prevent syrup oozing out. If you wish light, flaky pie crust, bake in
a hot oven. If a sheet of paper placed in oven turns a delicate brown,
then the oven is right for pies. The best of pastry will be a failure
if dried slowly in a cool oven.
When baking a crust for a tart to be filled after crust has been
baked, always prick the crust with a fork before putting in oven to
bake. This prevents the crust forming little blisters.
Aunt Sarah always used for her pies four even cups of flour, 1/4
teaspoonful baking powder and one even cup of sweet, _rich, home-made
lard_, a pinch of salt with just enough cold water to form a dough,
and said her pies were rich enough for any one. They certainly were
rich and flaky, without being greasy, and she said, less shortening
was necessary when baking powder was used. To cause her pies to have a
golden brown color she brushed tops of pies with a mixture of egg and
milk or milk and placed immediately in a hot oven.
Mary noticed her Aunt frequently put small dabs of lard or butter on
the dough used for top crust of pies before rolling crust the desired
size when she wished them particularly rich.
Aunt Sarah always used pastry flour for cake and pie. A smooth flour
which showed the impression of the fingers when held tightly in the
hand (the more expensive "bread flour") feels like fine sand or
granulated sugar, and is a stronger flour and considered better for
bread or raised cakes in which yeast is used, better results being
obtained by its use alone or combined with a cheaper flour when baking