Pastry

Pastry is an unleavened dough, generally made from shortening (fats), flour and liquid, which is rolled out and used to line flan and tart tins, or to envelope or cover sweet and savoury fillings. The seven basic pastries are PUFF, ROUGH

PUFF, , , CRUST, CHOUX, SUET and flaky. Pastry is also the term loosely applied to sweet baked pastry confections, for example DANISH PASTRIES and jam turnovers.

The basic ingredients used to make pastry are:

Flour In almost every kind of pastry dough, refined plain white wheat flour is used. Self-raising flour is used only when a heavier ingredient such as suet is incorporated. Salt In most doughs, salt is added in amounts varying from teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

Sugar Sugar is added to sweet pastry doughs.

Shortening All pastry dough includes a shortening (a general term which describes fats used in doughs) in propor-tions which vary according to the richness of the pastry – the more shortening, the richer the pastry. Generally, butter is used, but margarine, suet, lard, vegetable fat and oil or a combination of shortenings – such as butter and vegetable fat in SHORTCRUST PASTRY-are also used. Liquid Liquid is added to the flour and shortening mixture to bind it and make it more pliable. Water is most commonly used, but other liquids such as eggs, milk, cream, sour cream and buttermilk may be used.

Flavourings Cheese, herbs, spices and essences may be added to the basic pastry dough.

Yeast In some types of doughs, such as that used for making DANISH PASTRIES, yeast is used.

The method by which the shortening is incorporated into the flour determines the texture of the finished pastry. In PUFF, ROUGH PUFF and flaky pastry, the shortening, generally butter, is added either in one large or several smaller pieces and rolled and folded into the flour and liquid mixture. The resulting texture is, as the names of the pastries imply, very light and flaky. For closer-textured pastries, such as SHORTCRUST, the shortening is cut into small pieces and rubbed into the flour with the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine or coarse breadcrumbs. For cooked and even closer-textured pastry doughs, such as CHOUX or HOT WATER CRUST, the shortening is melted with the liquid and then stirred or beaten into the flour. The eggs in choux pastry open out the texture.

The basic points to remember when making pastry dough are:

Unless the dough is made with yeast, or cooked, the ingredients and implements should be kept cool. For some pastry doughs, such as PUFF, the ingredients should also be chilled.

Agam with the exception of yeast and cooked doughs, a minimum of handling is desirable. When possible, use a table knife or pastry blender to incorporate the shortening into the flour. When rubbing the shortening into the flour, use your fingertips and work quickly and lightly. The more you handle the dough, the stickier and less manageable it becomes.

When rolling out dough, place it on a lightly floured working surface and use a floured rolling pin. Make sure that the dough docs not stick to the surface as it is rolled out. Roll the dough lightly away from you. Do not turn the dough over or it will absorb too much flour from the working surface.

If the dough is sticky or contains a high proportion of shortening, chill it in the refrigerator before rolling it out to make the handling easier.

Generally speaking, pastry should be baked, or at least start its baking time, in a hot oven. Long, slow baking produces hard, flat-tasting pastry.

Closer-textured pastry doughs, such as SHORTCRUST and RICH SHORTCRUST, are more suitable for lining flans and pie dishes and for baking blind. All types of pastry doughs are suitable for covering pies and enveloping sweet or savoury fillings.

If you have a freezer, it is well worth your while to make extra dough and store it in the freezer. Wrap it in quantities that are suitable for use, for example 8 ounces and 1 pound . Remember to remove it from the freezer at least 30 minutes before using so that the dough can thaw out thoroughly.

Pastry pies, tarts and flan cases can also be frozen. For most successful results it is best to freeze the pastry dough uncooked. If the pie has a cooked filling, such as steak and kidney, this should be cooked and cooled before covering with the pastry dough. Make sure all pastry doughs are wrapped in special freezer packaging.

Note: in all our recipes for basic pastry doughs, the yield is based on the amount of flour used. In other words, if 8 ounces of flour are used, the yield will be given as 8 ounces of pastry dough.

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