When it comes to the wide variety of kitchen utensils available from homeware stores, it can be pretty tough just to keep up with all the new terminology.
You’ve probably heard of a blender before, but you’ve probably never used one to make pastry! So what the heck is a pastry blender anyway?
A pastry blender is a tool used to mix ingredients together. They come in various sizes, shapes, and materials. Some even include attachments to create special shapes.
Their main purpose is to blend dough or batter into a smooth consistency. The term comes from its original purpose of blending flour and butter into a smooth paste.
Pastry blenders are useful tools for mixing batters and dough. They can be used to create all kinds of specialty desserts such as mousse, cheesecake, and pie crust.
In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about pastry blenders.
By the time you’ve read through this, you might even want to go out and pick one up yourself!
How To Use A Pastry Blender
If you’ve never used or even heard of a pastry blender before, it won’t be immediately obvious how you’re meant to use it. Let’s start by going over the basics of using a pastry blender.
The first thing to remember when using a pastry blender is that they’re pretty rough and rugged tools.
If you’re making something like pie crust where you have to work quickly and efficiently, then a pastry blender will be your best friend.
If you’re working on a recipe that requires more finesse than a quick and dirty approach, then you might want to use your hands instead.
With your ingredients combined in a mixing bowl, grip the handle of the pastry blender and press down on the large chunks of fat. In most cases, the ingredients will be butter and flour, so it should be easy enough to identify the larger clumps of butter at the start of the blending process.
Don’t let any stickiness slow you down, the butter or fat will come off as you keep working it into the flour, so there’s no need to stop and remove it from the tines of the pastry blender.
If some unmixed clumps are sticking to the higher sides of the mixing bowl, just scrape them back down to the center with a spatula or even with the pastry blender itself.
After around 30 seconds of hard work, your butter and flour should be completely blended together, and you’ll have the basis of your pastry or dough ready to go!
Now that you know how to use your pastry blender, let’s take a look at the different types of pastries that you can make with it.
Types Of Pastries That Can Be Made With A Pastry Blender
There are so many recipes that can be made with a pastry blender, and they all tend to require their own flour and butter blending techniques.
Pies made with a pastry blender tend to be flaky and light. This makes them perfect for pies with lots of fruit filling.
Biscuits made with a pastry blender are usually thicker and denser than those made without one.
Cookies made with a pastry blender don’t spread much during baking. This means they’re great for cookies with thick fillings.
Muffins made with a pastry blender have a nice crumbly texture. You can also add nuts or other dry ingredients to give muffins extra flavor and nutrition.
A cheesecake made with a pastry blender tends to be lighter and less dense than one made with your hands alone.
Pastry Blender Tips And Tricks
Pastry blenders are incredibly versatile, but they do have a few tricks up their sleeve. Here are a few tips that we recommend keeping in mind while you’re using yours:
Use Your Hands Instead Of A Pastry Blender When Working On Recipes That Require More Finesse Than A Quick And Dirty Approach
Pastry blenders aren’t always necessary when you’re working on a dish that needs a little more finesse than a simple mixture of flour and butter.
For example, if you were making a chocolate cake, you could simply mix the flour and sugar together before adding the eggs and oil. Then, once everything is well-combined, fold in the melted chocolate until it’s evenly distributed throughout the batter.
The same goes for pie crusts. If you’d prefer not to roll out the dough by hand, you can simply cut it into pieces and toss it into the food processor along with the salt, pepper, and shortening. Once the dough has been processed, you can then shape it into whatever form you like and bake it.
Keep Your Work Surface Clean
When working with a pastry blender, it’s important to keep your surface clean. Even though you may think that a bit of flour won’t hurt anything, it can actually cause problems later on.
When you’re finished kneading the dough, dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. This helps prevent the dough from sticking to the counter as you continue to work on it.
If you find that your dough isn’t coming off easily, try brushing it with a small amount of water. The moisture will help loosen any sticky bits stuck to your surface.
Don’t Overmix Dough
Overworking dough can lead to tough baked goods. To avoid this issue, only blend the dough enough to get rid of any lumps.
Don’t Blend Too Much Flour Into Butter
It might seem tempting to just throw some flour into the bowl of an electric mixer and start mixing. However, doing so can result in the heavy, greasy dough.
Instead, you should first combine the butter and shortening with the flour. Then slowly incorporate the liquid into the mixture.
Using a pastry blender doesn’t mean that you need to use it every time you make something. In fact, there are many times when you’ll want to use your hands instead.
However, if you’re looking to create a flaky pie crust or a light and fluffy biscuit, a pastry blender is definitely worth having around.
Now that you know how to use a pastry blender, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and whip up a batch of delicious treats!