Pastry 101

It's Pastry Week on Bake Off, so we're getting back to basics with pastry tips...There are many varieties of pastry, from sweet to savoury, puff to choux.

It's Pastry Week on Bake Off, so we're getting back to basics with some pastry tips...

There are many varieties of pastry, from sweet to savoury, puff to choux. Here are some pastry tips to help get the basics right. Pastry is always a tricky one, no matter how long you’ve been baking. Only a slight difference in ingredient temperature can mean the difference between a successful pastry and an awful one. [caption id="attachment_23408" align="aligncenter" width="600"]pastry tips Le Cordon Bleu[/caption] The main types of pastry are as follows:
  • Shortcrust: often used for pies, tarts or quiche, shortcrust works for both sweet and savoury bakes.
  • Puff: a light and flaky pastry, puff is often used for savoury dishes such as sausage rolls and wellingtons, but also work as for sweet, including strudel or turnovers.
  • Choux: a light pastry dough which contains only butter, water, flour and eggs. Examples of foods made with choux pastry are profiteroles, eclairs and dumplings.
  • Filo: Filo is a thin unleavened pastry dough, which is layered to create many sheets to form a thicker pastry. Due to its fragile nature, it calls for a higher skill set. Filo pastry sheets can be used rolled, folded or layered, and make pastries such as baklava and strudel.
  • Flaky: Flaky, or rough puff, is a simple and light unleavened pastry which is similar to puff pastry. However, flaky uses large amounts of butter mixed into the dough, which is then rolled and folded. Pasties, turnovers and plaits can all be made using flaky pastry.

Pastry Tips

  • Pastry likes everything cold – equipment, hands, fillings and ingredients. Avoid that soggy bottom!
  • Make sure not to add too much flour to your work surface, as it can cause the pastry to dry out.
  • It's a good idea to allow the pastry to rest after handling, so the fat can firm up again.
  • Before putting the pastry into the oven, consider glazing the top to add shine or greater depth of colour.
  • Make sure to preheat the oven as the temperature is very important when it comes to baking pastry. It's best to use the middle shelf!
  • Test pastry 5-10 minutes before the end of cooking time just in case, but do not open the oven door until the pastry has completed three-quarters of the cooking time.
  • Pastry can be prepared in advance, as long as it is kept in the fridge before being baked. You can wrap uncooked pastry in clingfilm and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
Read Le Cordon Bleu's guide on how to make the sweet French sablé pastry.

Pastry recipes to try

If you found this useful, be sure to keep an eye on our 101 top tip page.


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