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Pastry is a mixture of flour, fat, salt and liquid. Sugar and cheese may be used as variation but the basic ingredients are flour, fat and water. 

Types of Pastry

The type of pastry depends on the following; 

— effect of ingredients on gluten formation.

— method used to incorporate fat into flour.

The proportion of fat to flour used affects how the fat is incorporated into the flour and thus results in the different types of pastry. 

  1. Suet Pastry: The fat is finely shredded or chopped’
  2. Short Crust Pastry: The fat is rubbed in.
  3. Rough Puff Pastry: The fat is rolled into the pastry.
  4. Flaky Pastry: The fat is folded inside pastry.
  5. Hot Water Crust: The fat is added to the flour and melted in boiling water.

Pastries generally are used to prepare dessert, accompaniments to other foods like soups and salad as main dishes where they are filled with meat, fish, poultry and also a way of using left over foods.

General Rules for Successful Pastry Making

  1. Ingredients and utensils should be kept cool to prevent melting the fat since this would interfere with the way the fat will react except for hot water pastry.
  2. The pastry should be handled very lightly so as to develop the gluten. 
  3. The fat should not be over rubbed into the flour. Otherwise, the fat will melt.
  4. Too much water should not be added as this develops the gluten. 
  5. The pastry should be rolled out smoothly and evenly using short even strokes. Roll in one direction only, flouring the board and the rolling pin to avoid sticking. Too much flour spoils the proportion and so makes the pastry tough.
  6. The pastry should be baked in a hot oven because the starch granules have to rupture very quickly to absorb the melted fat. See that the oven is in the correct temperature. If the oven is not hot enough, the fat will melt and run out before it is absorbed by the starch. If the oven is too hot, the pastry will set before the cool air entrapped in the mixing and rolling has time to expand
  7. Sieve flour immediately before use to aerate it and remove lumps.
  8. Never stretch pastry during rolling. This makes the pastry shrink when baked.
  9. Open and close the oven door gently as a current of cold air will prevent the pastry from rising evenly. 
  10. Use pastry containing baking powder at once. It goes dry if kept.

Fat Suitable for Pastry 

  1. Butter: Expensive but the best as it makes light pastry and gives it a good flavor.
  2. Margarine: Gives a good flavor but makes pastry heavy because of its water content. 
  3. Lard and Margarine:  Lard makes light pastries but it lacks flavor. A mixture of lard and margarine is economical and make excellent pastry.

Steps in Pastry Making

  1. Mixing: Over mixing should be avoided after water has been added because it toughens the dough.
  2. Rolling: The dough should be allowed to stand a few minutes to hydrate before rolling. This makes the rolling easy and a little that can be managed easily should be sprinkled during the rolling process.
  3. Baking: The desired temperature should be used in baking. Too hot or low temperature will result into bad product.

Characteristics of good pastry

  1. Good pastry is crisp and tender with a blistered rather than a smooth surface.
  2. The edges are show deep brown while the centre shows light brown.
  3. It is easily cut with a fork but not so tender that it breaks when served.
  4. It smells nice.

Common Faults in Pastry and their Causes

Faults                                   Causes

1.Tough crust                    i. Insufficient fat

                                             Ii. Too much water

                                            iii. Over mixing 

                                            iv. Too much flour on the rolling board

2. Crumbly crust            i. Too little water

                                            ii. Too much fat

                                                         iii. Use of self-raising flour

                                          iv. Insufficient mixing

3.Crust does not turn brown    i. Too little water

ii. Too much fat 

iii. Too much flour on board

iv. Over mixing

v.  Oven temperature too low

4. Soggy lower crust i. Filling too moist

II. Bottom crust turn or broken

iii. Oven temperature too low or time too short

5.Shrinks in pan i. Unbalance recipe

ii. Too much handling

iii. Pastry stretched tightly in pan 

iv. Dough stored too long in refrigerator

v. Dough uneven in thickness

6. Pastry shell blisters i. Pastry fitted too tightly in pan 

ii. Oven temperature too low


These are used to decorate and fill cakes (such as those for weddings, birthdays), biscuits and pastries. The process of decorating cake is called icing.There are three major types of cake icing

  1. Royal icing
  2. Butter icing
  3. Fondant icing

 Examples of filling are mockcream and confectioner custard. 

TO DO AT HOME: Write a note on the three methods of cake icing specifying the ingredients and the methods.