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Fine Puff Pastry from a Black ship cook of 1887 – Pie Recipes more…

Fine Puff Pastry from a Black ship cook of 1887

Posted by Warren

Puff pastry for pie. Text version is below image.

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887


The tips here are fantastic. It goes into detail and how to store the pie after it is baked.

It shows how to test the temperature of the oven to see if it is hot enough to bake your pastry.

Be sure to read through it. It is very informative is you want to brush up on your pie skills.


Fine Puff Pastry Pie Crust from a Black ship cook from 1887

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887


Into one quart of sifted flour, mix two teaspoonfuls of baking-powder, and a teaspoonful of salt; then sift again. Measure out one teacupful of butter and one of lard, hard and cold. Take the lard and rub into the flour until a very fine, smooth paste. Then put in just enough ice-water, say half a cupful, containing a beaten white of egg, to mix a very stiff dough. Roll it out into a thin sheet, spread with one-fourth of the butter, sprinkle over with a little flour, then roll up closely in a long roll, like a scroll, double the ends towards the centre, flatten and reroll, then spread again with another quarter of the butter. Repeat this operation until the butter is used up.


Wrap the pie dough

Put it on an earthen dish, cover it with a cloth and set it in a cold place, in the ice-box in summer; let it remain until cold; an hour or more before making out the crust. Tarts made with this paste cannot be cut with a knife when fresh; they go into flakes at the touch.

You may roll this pastry in any direction, from you, towards you, sideways, anyway, it matters not, but you must have nice flour, ice-water, and very little of it, and strength to roll it, if you would succeed.


Recipe purchased from a Black cook

This recipe I purchased from a Black cook on one of the Lake Michigan steamers many years ago, and it is, without exception, the finest puff-paste I have ever seen.


A Cookbook with vintage pie recipes


This is one of America’s most enduring cookbooks. It was in print, under varying names and guises, for fifty some years and has been reprinted, in full or in part, throughout the 20th century. Early editions were printed on poor quality paper and so have not survived in easily usable form which makes them rare to find.

This the White House Cookbook the first edition.

It had a frontispiece photograph of the wife’s of the President of the United States. This practice continued for much of the publishing of the book.

The interesting fact is that this cookbook was and still is a very popular American cookbook and has been for more than a century.

This cookbook is quite comprehensive with many household hints and tips in addition to hundreds of recipes, some being for pies.

Pie Crust Recipe made with Lard and Butter

—Ingredients and instructions are not the actual vintage recipe but is provided for reference purposes.


Pastry dough – double crust

2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (Red bag)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 ice cold water (do not use all at once)

1 teaspoon cold canola oil

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold leaf lard

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (any brand wrapped in foil)

Directions making the dough

Need help making
a flaky pie crust?

1. Add all your dry ingredients to a chilled glass bowl and tossed the mixture with a fork.

2. Cube your fats into small pieces and add to the bowl.

3. Using just your finger tips rub the cold fat into the flour. Stop when the mixture resembles cracker crumbs and tiny peas.

4. Whip the ice cold water and oil until it looks cloudy and the mixture looks a little foamy. Quickly add two thirds of this to the dry ingredients and toss with a fork. If it is not coming together add the remaining liquid.

Do Not over work the dough.
It will make it tough.

5. The dough should look somewhat dry but come together when squeezed in your hands.

6. Now divide this mixture in half to make two balls by squeezing it all together. Compress and flatten the balls to form two large disks.

7. Wrap disks tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes. You can freeze them for two months by adding a foil wrap to the covered disks.

8. Your dough is now ready for your favorite pie recipe.

Pie Crust Success

Lard is a good pastry for beginning pie makers. A chilled lard pie crust is more plasticity, easy to work with, than just about any other pastry.

So do not be afraid of this one, thinking you need to possess some old-fashioned wisdom.

Never over work the dough. This will activate the gluten and make the pie crust tough.

Pie Recipes and much more…