National Pastry Day is celebrated each year on December 9. The pastry is a name given to a large variety of baked goods which are made with ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder, and eggs.
Pastry dough is rolled out thinly and then used as a base for different baked products. A few of the more common bakery items include pies, tarts, quiches, and pasties.
Pastries can be traced as far back as the ancient Mediterranean where they had almost paper-thin, multilayered baklava and Phyllo dough.
Pastry making began in Northern Europe after the Crusaders brought it back from the Mediterranean.
French and Italian Renaissance chefs eventually perfected the puff and choux pastries while 17th and 18th-century chefs brought new recipes to the table. Included in the innovative recipes were Napoleons, cream puffs and eclairs.
Culinary historians often consider French pastry chef Antonin Careme (1784 – 1833) to have been the original great master of pastry making in modern times.
There are many different types of pastry, most of which would fall into one of the following categories:
Shortcrust pastry – simplest and most common.
Sweetcrust pastry – similar to the shortcrust but sweeter.
Flaky pastry – simple pastry that expands when cooked.
Puff pastry – has many layers that cause it to puff when baked.
Choux pastry – very light pastry that is often filled with cream or other fillings.
Phyllo pastry – paper-thin pastry dough that is used in many layers.