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Pastry

PASTRY

PASTRY. Pastry is flour mixed with shortening and flavoring ingredients to produce a coherent mass, used for pies and other dishes in North American, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Basic additions are fat, a little salt, and water. Pastry-making, pâtisserie in French, has developed as a special branch of cookery. Specialized products of the pastry cook or pâtissier include delicate flour and sugar confections (cakes, cookies, waffles, meringues, frostings, glazes, and fillings) combined in small pastries for snacks, taken with tea or coffee or after meals. By extension, the word pastry is sometimes used collectively to indicate sweet, flour-based items for dessert.

Defining pastry types is difficult, as there are numerous variations. Three basic ones are short-crust or pie pastry, puff pastry, and flaky or rough puff. Short-crust pastry is one part fat (butter, lard, or commercial pastry fat) to two of flour by weight. The fat is cut or rubbed into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, a little ice water is added, and the mass is pressed together with minimal working to make a dough. French pâte brisée is similar, but uses a little more fat and is mixed with egg. Variations include sweetened pâte sucrée and pâte sablée (very rich, similar to cookie dough). Short pastries are crumbly when cooked and used for many pies and tarts.

Puff pastry or pâte feuilletée fine, is an elaborate, layered pastry with a tender melting texture and excellent flavor. Equal proportions of butter to flour by weight are used. About a fifth of the butter is cut into the flour, and water is added to make a dough. This is allowed to rest in a cool place, and then rolled out; the remaining butter is then placed as a block in the center of the sheet of dough, which is folded over it. It is rerolled and folded in three, a process known as a "turn." Four turns are made with rests between, giving a dough with thin, even layers of fat between leaves of dough; air pockets also get trapped in the layers. Well-made puff pastry has up to 240 layers, and expands up to eight times its original thickness during baking. It is used for napoleons, cornets (cone-shaped pastries often filled with whipped cream or ice cream), and other fine pastries, sweet or savory, in the French tradition. Yeast-leavened doughs are turned with butter in the same way to make croissants and Danish pastries.

Flaky or rough puff pastries, French demi-feuilletées, are less well-defined. They usually have fat-to-flour ratios that are higher than that of short-crust but lower than that of puff pastry. They are made with the general method used for making puff pastry, but the butter may be spread over the dough in one batch or incorporated in three fractions, one each time the dough is turned. Quick versions are made by cutting the fat into pea-sized lumps, adding water to make a dough, and then giving it three or four turns. The dough has a light and layered effect but does not rise as high as puff pastry. It is also used in similar ways, especially with meat dishes such as beef Wellington.

Many other pastry recipes exist. Choux pastry uses a very different method. Water and butter are heated together; the result is mixed with flour, and eggs are beaten into the mass. The paste produced is soft and supple, and is piped to make cream puffs, chocolate éclairs, and other shapes, or flavored with cheese for the French gougère. English cookery includes hot-water crust: water and lard heated to the boiling point and mixed with flour, giving a malleable, strong paste that is raised while hot to make tall pies of pork or game; and suet crust, made of flour, beef suet, and water, and used for suet puddings and dumplings.

In Central Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, strudel and phyllo pastries are made from a dough of flour, a little butter or oil, and water, which is worked to form an elastic mass that is stretched into a paper-thin sheet. When the pastry is ready for use in baking, its surface is brushed with melted butter. Strudel pastry is rolled around fillings such as apples or poppy seeds, while phyllo is often cut into sheets and stacked in layers with nuts to make sweet dishes, or with spinach and cheese for savory ones.

Indian cookery involves pastry made from flour with a little ghee (clarified butter) or oil. This is used to enclose savory fillings for samosas (turnovers), and is deep-fried, providing the crispness that baking gives to pastries from the European traditions. Some types are cooked alone and drenched in sugar syrup to give sweet pastries. Chinese cookery also includes a few plain short-crusttype pastry recipes, notably that used for moon cakes, filled pastries traditionally eaten to celebrate the Moon (or Mid-Autumn) Festival.

Protein content of the flour is important: too much, and the pastry is tough and shrinks; too little, and it is very mealy. A medium protein content is best. Development of gluten (the protein complex that gives texture to bread) is inhibited by cutting in the fat, a process which coats the flour particles, preventing the water from reaching the proteins. In flaky and puff pastries, turning encourages limited gluten development in horizontal sheets for the characteristic texture.

Fat choice is also important. Butter gives a good flavor but produces a less short texture than lard, which gives a flaky texture. Lard has a coarse crystal structure that coats the flour particles more effectively and is one hundred percent fat, unlike butter, which contains a little water. Some cooks consider a mixture of lard and butter to give the best balance of flavor and texture. Margarine and specially tailored vegetable fats are often substituted on grounds of cost, nutrition, or ethics. Oils give very crumbly pastry. Keeping pastry cool during working is also important, otherwise the fat becomes oily and the texture suffers.

During baking, the water in pastry vaporizes and allows crisp flakes of dough to form. In puff pastry, water vapor and air trapped between the layers expand and force them apart, making the pastry rise; a similar effect produces the characteristically hollow texture of choux pastry.

The history of pastry has been little explored. Pastry of a sort was known to both Greek and Roman civilizations, but it was oil-based, and limited in its applications. Late medieval references to pastry do not make it clear what type is being referred to. In the seventeenth century, the work of La Varenne (originally published in 1651) and others shows that several types of pastry were recognized. Methods for puff pastry had developed, as had pastes rich with butter, cream, or eggs, used for little tarts and pies. These were intended to be eaten, unlike the coarse puff paste made for great pies, which was plain, made from brown rye flour with only a little fat. It protected game and meat fillings from intense heat during cooking, and acted as a container that excluded air and preserved the contents afterwards. By the nineteenth century, pastry making was a complex art, recorded by chefs such as Jules Gouffé who moved between the great houses of Europe, learning and codifying techniques from different places. Pastry had also developed as a traditional product in certain areas, such as Cornwall in England, where Cornish pasties, semicircular turnovers filled with meat and vegetables, had become a traditional food for miners.

The ingredients of pastry make it an energy-dense food, and the use of fats such as butter and lard gives it a high cholesterol content, but it is so important and convenient as an edible container that it seems likely to remain popular. Many types of sweet pastry that were developed were intended to be treats, not everyday food; it is only the abundant wheat and fat production of modern agriculture that has made them so accessible.

See also Baking ; Butter ; Candy and Confections ; Pasta ; Pie ; Wheat: Wheat as a Food .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beck, Simone, and Julia Child. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 2. London: Penguin Books, 1970

Davidson, Alan. "Pastry." In The Oxford Companion to Food, edited by Alan Davidson, pp. 585587. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Gouffé, Jules. The Royal Cookery Book [Le Livre de cuisine]. Translated from the French and adapted by Alphonse Gouffé. London: Sampson Low Son and Marston, 1868.

La Varenne, François Pierre. The French Cook. With an introduction by Philip and Mary Hyman. Lewes, U.K.: Southover Press, 2001.

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking. New York: Scribners, 1984.

Laura Mason

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pastry

pastry, general name for baked articles of food made of paste or having paste as a necessary ingredient. The name is also used for the paste itself. The essential elements of paste are flour, liquid (usually milk or water, sometimes beaten egg), and shortening. The making of pastry was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but its modern development in the Western world dates from the late 18th cent. Pastry is classed according to the amount of shortening used and the method of blending it with the flour as plain, flaky, and puff pastry. Plain pastry is used to cover meat or fruit pies; flaky pastry, which requires more shortening than plain, is used in strudels and the Turkish baklava. Puff pastry is used in the making of cream puffs and éclairs.

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"pastry." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pastry." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pastry

"pastry." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pastry

pastry

pastry Baked dough of flour, fat, and water. There are six basic types: shortcrust, in which the fat is rubbed into the flour; suet crust, in which chopped suet is mixed with the flour; puff and flaky, in which the fat is rolled into the dough; hotwater crust and choux, in which the fat is melted in hot water before being added to the flour (choux pastry also contains eggs and is whisked to a paste before cooking). Phyllo pastry is made from flour and water only.

Suet pastry is raised using baking powder or self‐raising flour; puff and flaky and choux pastry are raised by the steam trapped between layers of dough.

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"pastry." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"pastry." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry

pastry

pas·try / ˈpāstrē/ • n. (pl. -tries) a dough of flour, shortening, and water, used as a base and covering in baked dishes such as pies. ∎  an item of food consisting of sweet pastry with a cream, jam, or fruit filling.

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"pastry." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"pastry." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry-0

"pastry." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry-0

pastry

pastry (coll.) articles of food made of flour. XVI. f. PASTE, after OF. pastaierie, f. pastaier pastry-cook; see -RY.

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"pastry." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"pastry." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry-1

Pastry

Pastry

articles of food made of paste, as pies, tarts, etc., collectively, 1539.

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"Pastry." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Pastry." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry-0

pastry

pastryairy, Azeri, canary, carabinieri, Carey, Cary, chary, clary, contrary, dairy, Dari, faerie, fairy, glairy, glary, Guarneri, hairy, lairy, Mary, miserere, nary, Nyerere, prairie, Salieri, scary, Tipperary, vary, wary •carefree • masonry • blazonry •Aintree • pastry • masturbatory •freemasonry • stonemasonry • Petrie

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"pastry." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"pastry." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pastry