Requirements for Pastry & Pie Making
OF PASTRIES AND PIES
|Pastry desserts may be made
in various fancy shapes for individual servings or in pies that will serve
five or six persons. Pies having one crust usually contain a filling that
consists of a custard mixture, a mixture thickened with corn starch or
flour, or occasionally a fruit mixture. Some pies also have a top crust
covering the filling, and when this is the case a fruit filling, either
fresh or cooked, is the kind that is generally used.
Because of the nature of
the materials used in the preparation of pastry desserts, the finished
product is necessarily high in food value. For instance, starchy material
is provided by the flour, fat by the shortening, and sugar in comparatively
large amounts by the filling, whether it be fruit of some kind or a material
resembling custard. This fact, rather than the taste or the appetite, should
aid in determining whether or not pastry desserts should be included in
a meal. While the popularity of such desserts causes them to be used somewhat
indiscriminately, their use should always be governed by the nature of
the rest of the meal. Thus, if the other dishes served provide enough food
value, then a dessert lighter than pie should be chosen; but if the rest
of the meal is not sufficiently high in this respect, a wholesome pastry
dessert will generally prove to be a wise selection.
Detailed instructions regarding
the making of pastry desserts are given throughout this Section,
but if the greatest degree of success is to be attained, it will be well
from the very beginning to understand a few general rules that apply to
this work. In the first place, the ingredients must be of the right sort
and as cold as possible; then they must be handled and combined with dexterity;
and, finally, a hot oven must be provided in order that these foods may
be properly baked.
USED FOR PASTRY
|The ingredients used in
pastry making are neither numerous nor complicated, usually including only
flour, salt, shortening, and liquid. If these are correctly combined, they
will be all that is required to make a pastry that is light, flaky, and
Occasionally a recipe requiring baking powder will be found and
sometimes eggs are called for in mixtures of this kind, but neither of
these ingredients is required for successful pastry making. Baking powder
may be an advantage when it is used by one who is not experienced in the
handling of pastry mixtures, for it helps to make pastry lighter. However,
only a small quantity of this ingredient should be used, as a very little
will bring about the desired result.
FLOUR FOR PASTRY
|Pastry flour is the most
desirable for pastry making. It is made from winter wheat, which, as has
already been explained, contains less gluten and therefore lacks the gummy
consistency of bread flour. For puff paste, which is prepared so as to
hold air between thin layers of pastry, bread flour is often used because
it retains air better.
Flours made of other cereals
may also be used. Pastry made of such flours is more difficult to handle,
but good results may be obtained if patience and care are exercised. When
corn flour, rice flour, and barley flour are used as part of the flour
for pastry, it will be found that less shortening is needed than when wheat
flour alone is used. The dark flours, such as barley, produce a pastry
that is dark in color, but this is no particular disadvantage so long as
the quality is not impaired.
No matter what kind of flour
is used for the pastry, it should be as dry as possible. At times, putting
the flour in a warm oven and allowing it to dry will prove to be advantageous.
However, flour so treated should be cooled before it is used, since the
cooler the ingredients are the better will be the pastry.
Cereal products of different
kinds, such as corn meal, for instance, may be moistened, spread into pans
in thin layers, and then baked. The shells thus produced may be filled
with various kinds of filling and used very successfully. Such shells,
however, can scarcely be considered as real pastry.
The flour for pastry must be made as light as possible (you could accomplish
this by sifting the flour before use.