This quantity will make Crusts and coverings for three ordinary Pies. Rub the flour and butter very lightly together, being careful not to allow it to harden under touch; keep on kneading a little butter at a time into the flour till you have used up all and the dough feels greasy to the touch. Always remember to add the salt before putting in the butter. Some add a tablespoonful of sugar, but the sweetened filling will be generally found sufficient. Then add, little by little, the water, kneading gently, till you have a nice, soft dough, lifting out the portion that is wet and continuing to knead as you mix the flour and water. Always be very careful in adding the water, and never wet the flour twice in the same place. Mix all together lightly with your hands when all is moistened, using always your own good judgment in adding water. Do not work the dough; simply mix lightly and thoroughly, and then dredge the board lightly with the flour. If you intend to make two Pies, cut the dough into four parts. Turn the Paste out upon the board, and roll lightly and quickly into long, thin sheets. Use as little flour as possible in rolling, as your dough will grow tough the more you work it, and the more you add flour and roll it. Remember always that the less flour used in rolling, the tenderer will be the Paste. Therefore always cut the dough in as many sections as you intend to make Pies, allowing for an Upper and Under Crust; this will obviate the necessity of rolling it again. Take the pie pans immediately, and place a sheet of dough over each, and trim the edges nicely. Set in the stove, let them bake lightly, and then add the filling of fruits. Place a light, thin cover of Crust over them, and trim the edges; decorate the edges prettily, using the end of a fork or spoon, and set in the hot oven to bake quickly. When done, set to cool. Sprinkle, when cool, with powdered white sugar, rolling the loaf sugar into a powder, rather than using the pulverized, if you wish an elegant taste. Thus made, the Pies ought to have a rich, lightly flaky Crust, that will, as the old Creoles used to say, “melt in your mouth.” You cannot attain this end if you use ice-cold water in making this kind of Paste.
Paste made with lard may be used for Meat Pies and Dumplings, and for Stews and Chicken, when cooked with Dumplings. Only roll very thin. Some persons use lard for Pie Crust. This is to be deprecated. The Crust will never have the same flavor or be as flaky as when made with butter. Others, again, mix the butter and the lard. This, too, is to be condemned if you wish for the best results.
If any Pie Crust is left, do not think of throwing it away. Take all the bits left from cutting around the edges of the pie pans; roll very thin into small squares; bake lightly, and save for tea or luncheon. Put a spoonful of Orange, Pineapple, Lemon or Raspberry Jelly on each square, and they will be found delicious.