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pastry,general name for baked articles of food made of paste or having paste as a necessary ingredient. The name is also used for the paste itself. The essential elements of paste are flour, liquid (usually milk or water, sometimes beaten egg), and shortening. The making of pastry was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but its modern development in the Western world dates from the late 18th cent. Pastry is classed according to the amount of shortening used and the method of blending it with the flour as plain, flaky, and puff pastry. Plain pastry is used to cover meat or fruit pies; flaky pastry, which requires more shortening than plain, is used in strudels and the Turkish baklava. Puff pastry is used in the making of cream puffs and éclairs.
baked goods whose main ingredient is flour. Depending on the mixture from which they are made, pastries are divided into sponge cake; short, puff, and crumb pastry; pâte à choux; meringues; and macaroons.
Sponge cake is made with flour, sugar, and eggs at a ratio of 1:1:2. Short pastry is made by mixing flour, eggs, butter, and sugar, with the butter and sugar comprising 60 and 40 percent of the quantity of the flour. Puff pastry is made by mixing flour and eggs with water in which salt and a small amount of citric acid have been dissolved. The basic ingredient of crumb pastries is sponge-cake and short-pastry crumbs, which are combined with cream filling, powdered sugar, and other ingredients, including flavorings or fruit syrup.
To make pâte à choux, butter and salt are added to boiling water. The flour is then added all at once while the mixture is rapidly beaten. The resulting thick, uniform mass is slightly cooled and the eggs are added. Meringues are made by adding sugar to whipped egg whites. The resulting mixture is baked in small rounded shapes at a low temperature. Macaroons are made with ground almonds, flour, sugar, and whipped egg whites.
Baked pastries, including crumb pastries, are prepared for consumption by adding one or more of the following: fillings, frostings, flavored syrups, fruit or other jellies, candied fruit, or finely chopped almonds or other nuts.
Pastries are perishable and must be kept at a temperature of 0–8°C. Pastries with a custard filling may be kept no longer than six hours, those with a whipped-cream filling no longer than seven hours, and those with a butter-cream filling no longer than 36 hours.