Pastry Cutters

Pastry Cutters

Pastry cutters come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit every occasion

ESSENTIAL USER NOTES

Named because of their widespread use in cutting practical, correctly-sized, or aesthetically attractive shapes from pastry, pastry cutters are found in a wide range of sizes and shapes to meet a vast array of different kitchen demands. Ranging from small cutters such as those shaped as letters or numbers, with which writing can be added to the top of cakes, pies, and almost any other dish, to large ones that cut pie-tops or Yorkshire puddings, they are found in many kitchen drawers throughout the country but sadly never seem to be used as widely as their versatility suggests.

Pastry cutters have never been particularly significant kitchen utensils, although they are consistently mentioned in the history of cookery. In Tudor times the pastry cutter was as important to bakers as the rolling pin, and on one occasion a woodyn paystree rynge eight cubits wide was used to make a giant mutton and ale pie for Henry VIII when he entertained the pastry-loving Duke of Mantua at a jousting and pie-eating tournament at Hampton Court.

In modern times, post-nouvelle cuisine has placed a new challenge on pastry cutter design. Taking nouvelle cuisine's trend for small meals to its logical extreme, the demand for microscopic pastry cutting led to the invention of the scanning electron pastry cutter, a device that is able to make jam tarts so small you can fit 30 million of them on a pinhead.

But, however our tastes and fashions in food may change, there will always be a demand for pastry cutters that can cut sensible, perfectly-sized, or amusing shapes from the ingredients we use. Whether you are making novelty crust-free sandwiches, cutting holes in the sides of vegetables to make funny faces, or using as a template for frying eggs in, the pastry cutter is here to stay.

Fried egg and soldiers shows how the pastry cutter adds a new dimension to a classic British dish
Use this utensil to make Pavlova Sandwich Salad

QUICK START GUIDE

DO:

  • use the pastry cutter to cut shapes from pastry and a variety of other ingredients;
  • cook with the shapes, the holes they have come from, or both;
  • use an appropriately shaped pastry cutter for the occasion. Pastry cutters in the shape of swastikas, for example, are not popular at all Christmas parties.

DON'T:

  • use pastry cutters that are bigger than the amount of pastry you are cutting;
  • use a scanning electron pastry cutter to prepare meals at home, unless you are an incredibly small person;
  • try to impress foreign dignitaries by holding a pie-eating contest. It might have worked in Tudor times but that sort of thing just isn't fashionable these days.

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