Making & Baking Pastry for Pies
|Pastry is a shortened dough
that is made of flour, water, salt, and fat and used in the preparation
of desserts. Chief among these deserts are pies. These are made by baking
foods between two crusts of pastry or with a single crust, which may be
an upper or a lower one.
Some cooks, especially the
French ones, regard as pastry such foods as certain small cakes, the paste
used for cream puffs and éclairs, and the sweetened breads made
with yeast, such as brioche. In reality, such desserts resemble cakes in
use more than they do pastry, and for this reason are included and discussed in connection
with them in Pastries Section on this site.
|The proportion of ingredients
for the making of pastry varies with the kinds of flour used and the kinds
of pastry desired. Some pastry varieties can be made with a comparatively
small amount of fat, while others require a large amount. The use to which
the paste is to be put will determine the proportion of fat to be used.
It varies from the minimum amount of one-sixth as much fat as flour, by
measure, or one-third, by weight, which is the proportion for economy paste,
to one-half, by measure, or an equal amount by weight, which is the proportion
used in the making of puff paste.
NOTE: For the ordinary preparation of pies,
an amount midway between the two extremes is usually sufficient, while
oftentimes less may be used to advantage.
The amount of liquid in
proportion to the amount of flour is about one-fourth, by measure, because
pie crust is an example of a stiff dough, and such dough requires four
times as much flour as liquid. However, liquid should be added to the other
ingredients until the correct consistency is obtained, regardless of the
quantity used. The consistency is not right until the flour and the fat
cling together in such a way that the mixture may be rolled out to form
the crust for a pie. The less liquid used to accomplish this condition,
the flakier will be the crust when it is baked.
More skill is required
in the handling of pastry when the smallest amount of water that can possibly
be used is added, but the results achieved usually justify the care that