Pastries, Pastry recipes & more!
We’re all about pastry, recipes, how-to vids, cookbooks, guest chefs, best-of dining and travel recommendations and more.
Our channel features great recipes by Tim Fonseca (Executive Pastry Chef, Four Seasons Hotel, Boston) and friends. Tim has appeared on TV and in major newspapers, magazines and books and creates some of the best award-winning pastry on the planet.
Watch guest chefs and talented amateur cooks prepare recipes using their own creative inventions as well as traditional recipes. Our recipes will astound your friends and we will show you some fast and simple recipe-making techniques that will enable you to put even fancy restaurant menu offerings to shame!
Some Pastry History
European traditions of making sweet recipes is often traced back to the short crust era of flaky doughs and recipes that were in use throughout the Mediterranean in ancient times. These recipes were popularized in Western Europe by Crusaders returning home.
In the Mediterranean, the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians all had filo-style pastry dough in their culinary traditions and recipes. There is also strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians perfected similar pastries in their recipes. They had professional bakers that surely had the skills to do so, and they also had needed materials like flour oil and honey. In the plays of Aristophanes, in 5th century BC, there are mentions of sweetmeats including recipes featuring small pieces of pastry filled with fruit. The Romans used flour, oil and water recipes to make pastry dough that they used to cover meats and fowls. They did this during baking to keep in the juices, but this pastry was not meant to be eaten by people. What was meant to be eaten were recipes with richer confections that were made into pastry and contained eggs or little birds. Greeks and Roman both struggled in making pastry recipes because of the fact that they both used oil in the cooking process and oil causes pastry dough to lose its stiffness.
In medieval North Europe they were able to create pastry and recipes that produced nice, stiff pastries because they cooked with lard and butter. There were some incomplete lists of ingredients found in medieval cookbooks, but no full, detailed versions. There were stiff, empty pastries called coffins or ‘huff paste’, that were eaten by servants only and included recipes with egg yolk glaze to help make them more enjoyable to consume. Medieval recipes for many pastries also included small tarts to add richness to the snack. It was not until about the Mid 16th century until recipes of actual pastries showed up. These recipes were adopted and adapted over time in various European countries, resulting in the myriad of traditional recipes known to the region, from Portuguese “pastéis de nata” in the west to Russian “pirozhky” in the east. The use of chocolate in recipes in the West, so commonplace today, arose only after Spanish and Portuguese traders brought chocolate pastry recipes to Europe from the New World starting in the 1500s. Many culinary historians consider French chef Antonin Carème (1784-1833) to have been the first great master of pastries in modern times. Essentially the first great pastry chef.
Making pastries and pasty recipes is a strong tradition in many parts of Asia. Chinese versions of pastry recipes are made from rice, or different types of flour, with fruit, sweet bean paste or sesame-based fillings. Since the 19th century, the British brought their pastries and recipes to the far east. Though it would be the French influenced Maxim in the 1950s that made pastry recipes popular in Chinese-speaking regions starting with Hong Kong. Still, the term “Western Cake” (西餅) is used to differentiate between the automatically assumed Chinese pastries and other pastry. Other Asian countries such as Korea have traditionally prepared pastries such as tteok, hangwa, yaksi, among others with flour, rice, fruits, and regional specific ingredients to make unique pastry. And Japan also has specialized pastries better known as mochi and manju. Pastry that has its origins from Asia 9s clearly distinct from western pastry that is generally much sweeter to the palate.
[ Wikipedia excerpt ]