Saturday, 23 October 2010

Puff Pastry and Shortcrust Pastry. what's the difference?

We see all this options of pastry available in the supermarket. So what is what? what to use for what?
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At its most basic, pastry is a mixture of flour and fat bound with water to form a paste. Historically it was used as a case for baking other items, but people eventually realised the pastry was worth eating too. The wide range of pastries made today vary in texture and taste according to the proportion of fats used, the way in which it is incorporated with the flour, and the method used to shape the dough

Puff pastry can generally be described as flaky, light and buttery, good for pies and pastries; while shortcrust pastry has a more crumbly, biscuit-like texture which is good for tart or quiche cases. Sweet puff pastry is literally puff pastry with sugar added to it, while sweet shortcrust pastry is not commercially available. When making a pie, many cooks use shortcrust on the bottom and puff pastry for the lid.
Puff pastry Puff pastry is best for pastries, sausage rolls, sweet or savoury pies, turnovers and palmiers. Puff pastry is usually made with canola or a vegetable oil. Butter puff pastry is puff pastry made with butter instead of the vegetable oil and no sugar. Whether you use normal puff pastry or butter puff pastry is entirely a matter of personal preference. Sweet puff pastry is puff pastry made using sugar. In Australia, it is not available ready-made. It is used in sweet recipes that require a flaky, buttery pastry such as a sweet pie.
Shortcrust pastry Shortcrust has a slightly biscuity, crumbly texture that is resistant to soaking up fluids so is perfect for quiches, tarts, samosas and other savoury delights with wet fillings or those that are not being served immediately. It is surprisingly sturdy when removed from its tin. Plain shortcrust is usually used for savoury fillings but can be a good counterpoint to very sweet fillings too so it is an all-purpose option. Pate sablee is a sweetened shortcrust pastry, though more like a biscuit dough, in that butter and sugar are beaten together before the flour and liquid are added. The word sablee means sandy or grainy and this effect is sometimes enhanced by the addition of ground almonds.
Fillo Fillo is wafer thin and crunchy and brown when cooked. Use fillo when a light, crunchy pastry is required, like a spinach pie, or where it will receive a good soaking in a syrupy liquid such as when making baklava.
Choux Choux has very specific uses such as for making eclairs, croquembouche and choux buns. When baked, it transforms into light-as-air puffs with hollow pockets perfect for filling with cream or chocolate.

Source: ninemsn and BBC

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