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Types of Pastry

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 5 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Types Of Pastry

Making the right pastry for dishes is as important as the filling itself. Although most recipes include the name of pastry that is recommended for the dish, it helps to have an idea of which pastry suits what and how to make it.

Shortcrust Pastry

This is probably the most versatile type of pastry as it can be used for savoury and sweet pies, tarts and flans. There are several different ways of making shortcrust pastry. (See ‘How to Make Perfect Shortcrust Pastry.’)

Puff Pastry

This is one of the ‘flaked pastries’ characterised by fat and air being trapped between the layers of the pastry dough to give a flimsy, light and crisp finish.

Regarded as the ultimate professional pastry, this type is time-consuming but worth making. It is used for savoury pie crusts and as wrapping for meat and poultry, as well as vol-au-vents, cream horns and mille feuilles (small iced cakes that are filled with jam and cream.)

Flaky Pastry

Used as a crust for savoury pies, sausage rolls, Eccles cakes and jam puffs, flaky pastry is best made in cool conditions and must be chilled during and after making, to prevent the fat content from melting out under cooking conditions.

Rough Puff Pastry

This type is a cross between puff and flaky pastry. It is also good for sausage rolls, savoury pie crusts and tarts and has the advantage of being easier to make than puff pastry, but is as light as flaky pastry.

All three of these flaked pastries need similar care.

  • Handle as little and as lightly as possible
  • Fat and dough content should be of the same consistency and temperature
  • Roll pastry evenly without stretching it or forcing out air
  • Brush with beaten egg glaze before baking

Choux Pastry

This incredibly light speciality pastry is used in the making of éclairs, profiteroles and cream buns. Air lifts the pastry during cooking to treble in size...all those cream-filled delights.

Filo Pastry

This type of pastry (along with finely shredded kadafi pastry, also from the Mediterranean) is made in very thin sheets and used as a casing for numerous delicate savoury and sweet dishes. Made with high gluten content flour, filo is very difficult to make and needs careful handling because it is such a thin, fragile pastry that dries out quickly. Some people prefer to buy readymade filo pastry, but even that is not easy to use. It must be brushed with oil or melted butter/ghee before shaping and cooking. Samosas are deep-fried with spicy fillings, wrapped in filo pastry, and prawns in filo pastry make popular savoury nibbles. This type is similar to strudel pastry.

Suet Crust Pastry

A traditional, British, pastry used for steamed or boiled puddings, dumplings and roly-poly puddings. Steak and kidney pudding is famously made with suet crust pastry as is spotted dick and treacle pudding.

Made with self-raising flour, shredded suet and for some lighter recipes, fresh white breadcrumbs, suet crust pastry should have a light spongy texture-it is very filling though!

Hot Water Crust Pastry

Moulded by hand while warm and used for raised meat and game pies (like the famous Melton Mowbray Pork Pies) hot water crust pastry is a rich and crisp speciality. Plain flour, salt, egg yolk and lard boiled up with water are the ingredients which, once mixed, kneaded, shaped and rested, can be used to line a hinged tin pie mould, or moulded over a large floured jam jar. Once set, the dough is filled, covered, sealed and decorated before being baked.

Pate Sucree Pastry

As the name suggests, this pastry is French. It is a sweet pastry that incorporates sugar and egg yolks for a rich, sweet result. Usually baked blind, it gives a thin, crisp pastry that melts in the mouth.

These are a few of the basic pastry types. Making pastry is not difficult and with attention to a few important details like:

  • correct fat to flour ratio-roughly half as much fat to flour
  • add water carefully and slowly, preferably from the fridge
  • handle pastry as little as possible
  • avoid over-flouring the rolling pin and board
  • always preheat the oven to the recommended temperature

you will be making pies, puddings and parcels with confidence.

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[Add a Comment]
Very helpful, it has a very simple and conveniently brief summary of a wide range of pastries in the world. It would have been even more helpful if you had said all the origins of the pastries, though. I like how you included examples of how the pastry was used to make. Thank you, I will be using this info to help with my cooking.
Hollie Shager - 5-Jul-17 @ 5:25 PM
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