Irrespective of the numerous articles you might have read about pastry making, the procedure and outcome is nearly always based on the same principle using the same paste. It is left for the cook to use the method that suits their cooking style. With regard to the paste, it will always be found to be a compound of butter, flour, sugar, and so on.
The various sweetmeats that serve for garnishing pastry most essentially contribute to improve its appearance and flavor. However the puff paste which is set up to the table in about one hundred and fifty different forms can be made in one single way only; it may be more or less fine, and thicker or thinner. We could make it finer by using a great deal of butter, but then it will have less substance.
Pastry baking requires some level of consideration and attention. We should be well acquainted with the oven be enabled ton make nice pastry. The best prepared paste if not properly baked, will be good for nothing. Always use dry flour during preparation as damp would spoil everything.
The chief consideration when making pastry is to have everything as cold as possible. The old-fashioned glass rolling pins were used for this purpose as they were so much colder than the present day wooden ones. A plain round glass bottle will act as a good substitute. The water used for mixing must be cold; if your hands are moist and warm by nature, you should rinse with cold water just before you start making your pastries.
To make pasty brown nicely, brush it over with milk just before putting it in the oven, this also adds a glaze. Put pastry into a hot quick oven, after 10 minutes, lower the temperature and finish in a moderate oven. If baking powder is used in the mixing, pastry must be cooked as soon as it is prepared and not left to stand. If the flour is damp, it should be dried before using, and if lumpy it should be sieved.
Do not put hot fruit into a tart; the steam given off will sodden the pastry before it has started to cook. Use a china funnel to support the middle of the pastry covering, and to let out the steam. Do not shut the oven door with a bang; this causes a sudden drought which lowers the temperature and renders the pastry, cake and so on heavy.
½ lb. flour
Salt to taste
1 teaspoonful of lemon juice
3 oz. butter
2 oz. margarine
Mix the salt and flour. Cut the butter and margarine up into small lumps and drop into the flour. Add a little water and the lemon juice mix well and continue to add water till the paste binds; but be careful not to make it moist. Roll it out ion a pastry board, fold it in three, roll it out again, do this twice again. Let it stay for 10 minutes between each rolling.