AskDefine | Define pastry

Dictionary Definition



1 a dough of flour and water and shortening [syn: pastry dough]
2 any of various baked foods made of dough or batter

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A baked food group which contains items made from flour and fat pastes such as pie crust; also tarts, bear claws, napoleans, puff pastries, etc.


food group

Extensive Definition

Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked goods made from ingredients such as flour, butter, shortening, baking powder or eggs. It may also refer to the dough from which such baked goods are made. Pastry dough is rolled out thinly and used as a base for baked goods. Common pastry dishes include pies, tarts and quiches..
Pastry is distinguished from bread by having a higher fat content, which contributes to a flaky or crumbly texture. A good pastry is light and airy and fatty, but firm enough to support the weight of the filling. When making a shortcrust pastry, care must be taken to blend the fat and flour thoroughly before adding any liquid. This ensures that the flour granules are adequately coated with fat and less likely to develop gluten. On the other hand, overmixing results in long gluten strands that toughen the pastry. In other types of pastry, such as Danish pastry and croissants, the characteristic flaky texture is achieved by repeatedly rolling out a dough similar to that for yeast bread, spreading it with butter, and folding it to produce many thin layers.
Many pie recipes involve blind-baking the pastry before the filling is added. Pastry dough may be sweetened or unsweetened.


European traditions of pastry-making are often traced back to the short crust era flaky doughs that were in use throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. These recipes were popularized in Western Europe by Crusaders returning home. However, the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians all had filo-style pastries in their culinary traditions. There is also strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians produced pastry-like confections. These recipes were adopted and adapted over time in various European countries, resulting in the myriad of pastry traditions known to the region, from Portuguese "pastéis de nata" in the west to Russian "pirozhky" in the east. The use of chocolate in pastry-making in the West, so commonplace today, arose only after Spanish and Portuguese traders brought chocolate to Europe from the New World starting in the 1500s. Many culinary historians consider French pastry chef Antonin Carème (1784-1833) to have been the first great master of pastry making in modern times. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked goods are called "pastries".
Pastry-making also has a strong tradition in many parts of Asia. Chinese pastry is made from rice, or different types of flour, with fruit, sweet bean paste or sesame-based fillings. Since the 19th century, the British brought western-style pastry to the far east. Though it would be the French influenced Maxim in the 1950s that made western pastry popular in Chinese-speaking regions starting with Hong Kong. Still, the term "west cake" (西餅) is used to differentiate between the automatically assumed Chinese pastry.

Types of pastry

These are some of the main types of pastry dough:


Those who make pastries professionally are known as either bakers or pastry chefs, depending on whether they produce pastries for a bakery or a restaurant.


pastry in Arabic: معجنات
pastry in Czech: Pečivo
pastry in German: Gebäck
pastry in Spanish: Repostería
pastry in French: Pâtisserie
pastry in Scottish Gaelic: Pastra
pastry in Italian: Pasticceria
pastry in Hebrew: מגדנאות
pastry in Dutch: Gebak
pastry in Japanese: 菓子パン
pastry in Finnish: Voitaikina
pastry in Swedish: Smördeg
pastry in Walloon: Påstedjreye
pastry in Chinese: 糕點

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Danish pastry, French pastry, baklava, blintz, chocolate eclair, cream puff, dowdy, eclair, pandowdy, pasty, patisserie, patty, patty-shell, pie, puff, quiche, rosette, strudel, tart, timbale, tipsy cake, trifle, turnover, vol-au-vent
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