A Simple Summer Dessert – by the French Method

This is the second article in June of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jun 12, 1904, and is a recipe.

School for Housewives – A Simple Summer Dessert – by the French Method

Here is a little cooking school lesson in pictures, given by a French pastry cook – a pâtissier.

The subject is a dainty summer dessert which can be varied from month to month by employing the different fruits as those come into season.

The pastry, if well made, is not unwholesome, and stewed fruit is unquestionably more appetizing served in these pretty shells than ungarnished in a dish or bowl.

To make the puff paste, use exactly equal parts of flour and butter, a little water and a pinch of salt.

Sieve the flour, preferably upon a marble-topped table. By stirring with the fingers in the centre of the heap thus formed, make a hollow ring of the flour as shown in the illustration. Have this ring equally thick and wide all around. Now put the salt and water into the hollow formed by the ring; melt the salt; stir in the flour a little at a time.

When the mixture has begun to thicken, stir in the rest of the flour as rapidly as possible.

Using both hands, roll the paste away from you upon the table. Now gather it together and work it with the base of the thumb, pushing it away from you in small pieces, little by little.

Sprinkle the table with flour, make a ball of the paste, pat the top down a little to make it lose some of the elasticity acquired in the working, and let it stand for a moment.

Now for the butter. Dust the surface of a clean towel with flour, place the butter on this. Fold the edges of the cloth over the top and bear down it to soften the butter, this movement several times from different sides, giving the batter a square shape.

Take the ball of paste which lies in front of you on the table, sprinkled with flour; flatten out into a square, put the butter on this and fold it in tightly as shown in the picture.

Sprinkle the table once more with flour, hold the paste in the hand at some height and dash it down upon the table. Take the roller gently roll out the embryo crust in a forward direction, using moderate force and proceeding without jerks, which last are sure to create unevenness in the crust.

Roll out very thin. Fold over a third part in a forward direction and bring another third over toward you.

Turn the paste half way around, that is to say, let the side which is at your left hand come directly in front of you. Take the roller, roll out once more and again fold it in the same way. Flour a baking board, a dish or a pie plate, put the paste on it, and set aside in a cool place for fifteen minutes.

Roll out and fold over twice; then allow it to stand another quarter of an hour.

Roll out in circular shape and place on a round plate or dish. In the middle pour four generous spoonfuls of the fruit as for any tart.

Spread out the rest of the paste which remains intact. Place this upon the foundation piece on which the fruit is spread; cut it by pressing down the ring and passing the point of the knife all around. Brush over with raw egg, indent a trifle with the point of the knife and bake forty minutes.

When finished dust with the finest of powdered sugar, and put back into the oven for a moment in order that the sugar may melt. Remove at once from the pan on which it is cooked, or it will taste of the metal.

Marion Harland


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