Pastry Coffins

This container was the progenitor of pie, and barely edible. Medieval Europeans Didn’t Have Tupperware, They Had Pastry Coffins EVEN ON HALLOWEEN, PRYING OPEN the lid of a stiff, sealed coffin would be considered a ghastly endeavor. But in Medieval Europe, sawing the top off a well-executed coffin revealed something delicious, rather than disgusting. A coffin, …

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Cutting Dough

Use a sharp razor blade rather than a knife to score your dough. It gives a professional touch to your crusts; also consider buying a pizza stone, which makes a huge difference to the “bum” of your bread. Dean Brettschneider


To better understand the basics of kneading try experimenting with scones by altering mixing times. Note the difference in result when you simply “put together” a scone mixture compared to a batch you’ve mixed for five minutes. Dean Brettschneider

Puff Pastry

When making puff pastry start with a hot oven so you get a kick out of your pastry. When you get a little bit of colour turn your oven down. Puff pastry is butter, flour and water – what makes it crisp is the butter frying in between the layers of flour and water. You …

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Grating Pastry

Use a cheese grater with big holes to grate your cold pastry into your shell and then push it into place, rather than rolling it out. This keeps it lighter. Theo Randall

Challah or brioche?

Aside from aesthetic differences, challah doesn’t contain dairy products. Challah is also typically leaner, much leaner than brioche. The leanest brioche, aka poor man’s brioche, is typically around 20% butter (in baker’s percentages), while fats in challah amount to no more than 15%, usually. Challah is typically hydrated with a large amount of water and a …

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Apple pies

When I make apple pie, I always add a pinch (JUST a pinch) of salt to the filling.  Salt brings out the sweetness of the apples.  And I add a tablespoon of sugar to the pie crust along with the other dry ingredients to make it brown better. Judy Levy Pordes

Better pastry

There’s many, but off the top of my head, frozen butter. It’s a great little trick to use for pastries if you’re not too good with your hands, like I am. Freeze the butter and grate it into the flour mixture. Mix it until it’s well spread out, and then add the liquid. Your batter …

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Pie crust

One thing that you can do is to bake a pie or tart crust longer to optimize quality. Your objective is to cook them past the point of being pale blonde, to the point where they become a golden caramel colour.

Fruit pies

I often add a trace of powdered/rubbed herbs to the filling of fruit pies. Jim Davidson, Chef

Pie crusts

Irish butter + vodka. Make sure it’s vodka. On the off chance that it doesn’t evaporate completely, it won’t leave any weird tastes. For apple pie, I use amaretto. Now there’s a game changer. Johnathan Law, Restarateur

Making pastry

Freeze butter, then grate. Large pieces for brisee, small ones for choux. Johnathan Law, Restaurateur

Bread and pastry

Pastry is a science. Bread is not. It is thoroughly an art. Humidity, ambient temperature, the mood your yeast (a LIVING organism) is in, time of day, all these things affect your loaf. Feel is very important. M. A. Steinberger