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Puff Pastry from Maria of 1887 –

Puff Pastry from Maria of 1887

Posted by Warren

Puff pastry for pie. Text version is below image.

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887


puff pastry for pie crust 1887puff pastry pie crust 1887

Puff pastry is quite tricky and time comsuming to make. Its crust is rich and airy, flaky and tender.

The very high fat content of this pastry is what makes it rich and fine. The reasons causes this to be difficult to handle.

With a little practise you can master this.

The tips here from Maria are fantastic.

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

Puff Pastry Pie Crust from Maria of1887

White House Cook Book, by Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1887


Pastry Ingredients

One quart of pastry flour, one pint of butter, one tablespoonful of salt, one of sugar, one and a quarter cupfuls of ice-water.

Wash Hands and Cool them down

Wash the hands with soap and water, and dip them first in very hot, and then in cold water. Rinse a large bowl or pan with boiling water, and then with cold.

Wash the Butter

Half fill it with cold water. Wash the butter in this, working it with the hands until it is light and waxy. This frees it from the salt and buttermilk, and lightens it, so that the pastry is more delicate. Shape the butter into two thin cakes, and put in a pan of ice-water to harden.

Mix the Ingredients

Mix the salt and sugar with the flour. With the hands, rub one-third of the butter into the flour. Add the water, stirring with a knife. Stir quickly and vigorously, until the paste is a smooth ball. Sprinkle the board lightly with flour.

Time to Roll the Dough

Turn the paste on this and pound quickly and lightly with the rolling-pin. Do not break the paste. Roll from you, and to one side; or, if easier to roll from you all the time, turn the paste around. When it is about one-fourth of an inch thick, wipe the remaining butter, break it in bits, and spread these on the paste.

Now Fold the Dough

Sprinkle lightly with flour. Fold the paste, one-third from each side, so that the edges meet. Now fold from the ends, but do

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not have these meet. Double the paste, pound lightly, and roll down to about one-third of an inch in thickness. Fold as before, and roll down again. Repeat this three times, if for pies, and six times if for vol-au-vents, patties tarts, etc. Place on the ice, to harden, when it has been rolled the last time.

Keep the Dough Cold

It should be in the ice-chest at least an hour before being used. In hot weather, if the paste sticks when being rolled down, put it on a tin sheet, and place on ice. As soon as it is chilled, it will roll easily.

Do not use much Flour for Dusting

The less flour you use in rolling out the paste, the tenderer it will be. No matter how carefully every part of the work may be done, the paste will not be good if much flour is used.

–Maria Parloa.

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.

Wrap your dough in plastic and leave to rest and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes between steps and folds.

Pie Recipes and much more…