A well-made pastry is one of the great delights of the french kitchen. Buttery, flaky and rich without being heavy, it is hardly more difficult than a mere pastry but always impressive. Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked goods made from ingredients such as flour, butter, shortening, baking powder or eggs. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked goods are called "pastries". Pastry is 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. These are:
- 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.
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