water should be added gradually, but quickly, to prevent hard lumps being formed, and to keep the consistence of the whole mass uniform. A knife should always be used for mixing, it being so much cooler than the hand. Some little practice is necessary to acquire the light, firm, even pressure and dexterous movements upon which success so largely depends. Paste should never be rolled backwards and forwards, but in short forward rolls, lifting the rolling-pin between the rolls. Puff paste should never be rolled off the edges, as this may force out some of the air; it is better to thin the edges by a little pressure, or an inward roll.
Puff Paste is allowed to stand between the turns in order that the butter may harden, and thus keep the layers of paste and butter separate. Paste to which baking-powder has been added should be put into the oven as speedily as possible, otherwise some of the effect of the baking-powder is wasted, its action beginning immediately the paste is moistened.
Baking.—All kinds of pastry should be baked in a moderately hot oven, for a high temperature is necessary to expand the air or gas, and thus make the pastry light, and also to burst the grains of the flour, thereby enabling these to absorb the fat immediately it melts. Unless the heat is sufficiently great to act upon the flour in this manner the melted fat runs out and leaves the paste less rich, and also, probably, both heavy and tough. An oven with a good bottom heat is desirable for baking tarts and tartlets; when heated from above it is advisable to bake, or partially bake, the tarts before filling them.
Icing.—Very pretty results can be obtained by the use of Icing tubes or cones, which may be purchased at any ironmonger's. Make an ordinary conical sugar bag of paper, place an Icing tube at the bottom, and fill the bag with Icing sugar. Then tear away the paper covering the point of the tube and squeeze the sugar through.
Paste, Crust, etc.
1645.—BATTER FOR FRYING.
Ingredients.—4 ozs. of flour, ½ an oz. of butter (melted), 1 tablespoonful of cream, 1 yolk of egg, 2 whites of eggs, a good pinch of salt, ⅛ of a pint of warm water (about).
Method.—Sieve the flour into a basin, add the salt, yolk of egg, butter and and cream, and stir until smooth, adding the water gradually. Beat well, put aside for at least ½ an hour, then add the whites of eggs, previously stiffly-whipped, and use as required.
Time.—About 1 hour. Average Cost, 5d. to 6d.