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This article describes Pastry in food. For the Distributed Hash Table system, see Pastry .
Blackberry Pie

Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked goods made from ingredients such as flour, butter, shortening, baking powder or egg. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked goods are called "pastries".

Pastry may also refer to the dough from which such baked goods are made. Pastry dough is rolled out thinly and used as a base for baked goods. Common pastry dishesinclude pies, tarts and quiches..

Pastry is distinguished from bread by having a higher fat content, which contributes to a flaky or crumbly texture. A good pastry is light and airy and fatty, but firm enough to support the weight of the filling. When making a shortcrust pastry, care must be taken to blend the fat and flour thoroughly before adding any liquid. This ensures that the flour granules are adequately coated with fat and less likely to develop gluten. On the other hand, overmixing results in long gluten strands that toughen the pastry. In other types of pastry, such as Danish pastry and croissants, the characteristic flaky texture is achieved by repeatedly rolling out a dough similar to that for yeast bread, spreading it with butter, and folding it to produce many thin layers of folds.
Many pie recipes involve blind-baking the pastry before the filling is added. Pastry dough may be sweetened or perhaps unsweetened.

Main types of pastry

Strudel, a phyllo pastry
Pecan and maple Danish pastry, a puff pastry type

Shortcrust pastry
The shortcrust, or short, pastry is the simplest and most common pastry made. It is made with the ingredients of flour, fat, salt, and water. The process of making pastry include mixing of the fat and flour, adding water, and rolling out the paste. It is cooked at 180°C and the result is a soft, tender pastry. A related type is the sweetened sweetcrust pastry.
Flaky (or rough puff) pastry
The flaky pastry is a simple pastry that expands when cooked due to amount of layers. These are perfect if you are looking for a crisp, buttery pastry. The “puff” is obtained by beginning the baking process with a high temperature and lowering the temperature to finish.
Puff pastry
The puff pastry has many layers that causes it to expand or “puff” when being baked. Pastries are made using flour, butter, salt, and water. It rises up due to the combination and reaction of the four ingredients and also from the good amount of air that gets between the layers. Puff pastries come out of the oven light, flaky, and tender.
Choux pastry
The choux pastry is a very light pastry that is filled with cream. The pastry is filled with various flavors of cream and is often topped with chocolate. Choux pastries can also be filled with things like cheese, tuna, or chicken to be used as appetizers.
Phyllo (filo) pastry
Phyllo pastries are usually paper-thin and greatly stretched. They involve several stretched out layers and are wrapped around a filling and brushed with butter. These pastries are very delicate and can break easily.


Pastries go back to the ancient Mediterranean almost paper-thin multi-layered baklava and filo. Medieval Europe took on pastry making after the Crusaders brought it back. French and Italian Renaissance chefs eventually perfected the Puff and Choux pastries, while 17th and 18th century chefs brought new recipes to the table. These new pastries included brioche, Napoleons, cream puffs, and éclairs. French chef Antonin Careme reportedly was the first to incorporate art in pastry making.


A mixture of flour, fat, possibly egg and sugar, the fat usually dispersed as small solid globules coated with flour and the whole brought together with liquid prior to shaping and baking. There are many types of pastry.
Pastry board
A square or oblong board preferably marble but usually wood on which pastry is rolled out.
Pastry brake
Opposed and contra-rotating rollers with a variable gap through which pastry can be worked and reduced in thickness for commercial production. A very small version is used domestically for pasta production.
Pastry case
An uncooked or blind baked pastry container used to hold savory or sweet mixtures.
Pastry cream
Confectioner's custard. An egg and flour thickened custard made with sweetened milk flavored with vanilla. Used as a filling for flans, cakes, pastries, tarts, etc. The flour prevents the egg from curdling.
Pastry cutters
Various metal or plastic outlines of shapes, e.g. circles fluted circles, diamonds, ginger bread men, etc. Sharpened on one edge and used to cut out corresponding shapes from biscuit, scone, pastry, or cakes mixtures.
Pastry blender
A kitchen implement used to properly combine the fat and flour. Usually constructed of wire or plastic, with multiple wires or small blades connected to a handle.

Physics and chemistry of a pastry

Different kinds of pastries are made by the nature of wheat flour and also due to certain types of fats. When wheat flour is kneaded into plain dough and made with water it develops strands of gluten, which are what make the bread tough and elastic. In a typical pastry, however, this toughness is unwanted so fat or oil is put in to slow down the development of gluten. It is common to use lard or suet here because they have a coarse, crystalline structure that is very effective. Using only unclarified butter does not always work well because of its water content; clarified butter is virtually water free. Shortcrust pastry using only butter may develops an inferior texture. If the fat is melted with hot water, or if liquid oil is used, the thin oily layer between the grains offers less obstacle to gluten formation and the resulting pastry is tougher. In hot water pastry, liquid oil or melted fat is used, the layer or oil between the grains makes it easier for gluten to form, making the pastry tougher.


A typical Mediterranean baklava, a phyllo dough pastry sweetened with syrup
Shop selling pastries in Syria

European traditions of pastry-making is often traced back to the short crust era flaky doughs that were in use throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. These recipes were popularized in Western Europe by Crusaders returning home.

In the Mediterranean, the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians all had filo-style pastries in their culinary traditions. There is also strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians produced pastry-like confections. It is very possible that Egyptians made and ate pastries. They had professional bakers that surely had the skills to do so, and they also had needed materials like flour oil and honey.In the plays of Aristophanes, in 5th century BC, there are mentions of sweetmeats including small pastries filled with fruit.The Romans used flour, oil and water to make pastries that were used to cover meats and fowls. They did this during baking to keep in the juices, but this was not meant to be eaten by people. A pastry that was meant to be eaten was a richer pastry that was made into small pastries and contained eggs or little birds. It was often served at banquets. Greeks and Roman both struggled in making a good pastry because of the fact that they both used oil in the cooking process and oil causes the pastry to lose its stiffness.

In medieval North Europe they were able to produce nice, stiff pastries because they cooked with lard and butter. There were some incomplete lists of ingredients found in medieval cookbooks, but no full, detailed versions. There were stiff, empty pastries called coffins or 'huff paste', that were eaten by servants only and included an egg yolk glaze to help make them more enjoyable to consume. Medieval pastries also included small tarts to add richness to the snack. It was not until about the Mid 16th century until actual pastry recipes showed up.These recipes were adopted and adapted over time in various European countries, resulting in the myriad of pastry traditions known to the region, from Portuguese "pastéis de nata" in the west to Russian "pirozhky" in the east. The use of chocolate in pastry-making in the West, so commonplace today, arose only after Spanish and Portuguese traders brought chocolate to Europe from the New World starting in the 1500s.Many culinary historians consider French pastry chef Antonin Carème (1784-1833) to have been the first great master of pastry making in modern times.

Pastry-making also has a strong tradition in many parts of Asia. Chinese pastry is made from rice, or different types of flour, with fruit, sweet bean paste or sesame-based fillings. Since the 19th century, the British brought western-style pastry to the far east. Though it would be the French influenced Maxim in the 1950s that made western pastry popular in Chinese-speaking regions starting with Hong Kongmarker. Still, the term "Western Cake" (西餅) is used to differentiate between the automatically assumed Chinese pastry. Other Asian countries such as Korea have traditionally prepared pastry-confections such as tteok, hangwa, yaksi, among others with flour, rice, fruits, and regional specific ingredients to make unique type desserts. And Japan also has specialized pastry-confections better known as mochi and manju. Pastry-confection that have their origins from Asia are clearly distinct from the western pastry-confections that are generally much sweeter to the palate.

Pastry chef

Those who make pastries professionally are known as either bakers or pastry chefs, depending on whether they produce pastries for a bakery or a restaurant.Pastry chefs use a combination of culinary ability and creativity in baking, decoration, and flavoring with ingredients. Many baked goods require a lot of time and focus. Presentation is an important part of pastry and dessert preparation. The job is often physically demanding job that requires lots of work with your hands and long hours on your feet and can be stressful with hours that start in the early morning. They are also responsible for creating new recipes to put on the menu. Pastry chefs work in restaurants, bistros, large hotels, casinos and bakeries. Pastry baking is usually held in a slightly separate part from the main kitchen. This section of the kitchen is in charge of making pastries, desserts, and other baked goods.



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See also


  4. Sinclair, Charles. International Dictionary of Culinary Terms. Grand Rapids: Bloomsbury Plc, 1998
  5. Jaine, Tom, and Soun Vannithone. The Oxford Companion to Food. New York: Oxford UP, 1999
  7. Jaine, Tom, and Soun Vannithone. The Oxford Companion to Food. New York: Oxford UP, 1999

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