Guide to perfect pastry 

 Originally Written: March 7, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

Every woman wants to make that perfect “melt-in-your-mouth”pastry that everyone will praise and brag about. Here are the basic rules – follow them and the result will be light and tender pastry.

Important rules:

  1. Have all ingredients as cold as possible
  2. Measure all ingredients accurately
  3. Handle mixture lightly and carefully
  4. Use just enough water to bind mixture
  5. Bake at correct temperature
Mixing pastry ingredientscarefully with a fork
Mixing ingredients carefully with a fork
Rolling out gently
Rolling out gently
Gently place rolled out pastry over pie plate
Gently place rolled out pastry over pie plate
Carefully folding edges of the pie crust
Carefully folding edges of the pie crust

Good pastry has a blistery, pebbled surface that promises flakiness. It is tender, easily cut with a fork, but not crumbly. The colour is golden brown, with a slightly richer brown at the edges. It is always tolled faily thin so that the entire crust (bottom as well as rim)

Baking the pastry is just as important to do properly – correct baking will make the pastry flaky and tender and will develop a rich golden brown colour all over. Bake it at high temperature to cook thepastry quickly so that the particles of fat surrounded by layers of dough will be melted quickly. A low temperature will produce oily and crumbly crust. If a filling is used, the temperature is reduced after first 10 minutes of baking so that the filling may cook without burning the pastry.

Temperature Guide for baking pastry:

Double curst pies – Bake in a hot over (450F) for the frist 10 minutes, than lower the heat to 350F for remaining time until filling is cooked.

Pie shell filled with uncooked filling – Unbaked pie shells filled with mixtures of milk and eggs *custanrd and pumpkin pies) should be baked in a hot oven (450F) for teh first 10 minutes, then in moderate oven (350F) for the remaining time

Baked single pie shell or tart shells – Bake in a hot over (450F) for 10 – 12 minutes or until pastry is golden brown

Causes of pastry shrinking in pan:

  • Too much handling
  • Pastry stretched too tightly in pan
  • Dough stored too long in refrigerator
  • Too slow an oven
  • Unbalanced recipe

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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