Is there a pastry blender (for mixing flour and butter when the recipe says to "cut in the butter with the flour") that anyone would like to recommend?
I recently saw a cooking show , (The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten) chilled the butter really hard, and used a cheese grater, the boxy type, and voila! The butter just had to be stirred into the flour at that point no labour involved. My mom used 2 butter knives and I have a cutter used for the purpose, but I'm going to try Ina's method next as I'm not that patient
I use a plain old plastic one I bought in the dollar store. I also have a metal one and use one or the other to chop boiled eggs and to chop up cooked potatoes in the pot for potato soup...or, I use a potato masher in the soup if I want thicker soup.
OOH! What a splendid idea!
Am thinking a food processor might also work on the butter.
I really like to use a wire pastry blender. They are shaped kind of like a huge letter D. and have a wooden or plastic handle.
I have a standard Kitchen Aid food processor. It comes with a "pastry blade". It is plastic, rather than sharp metal. The key is to 'pulse' the mix, not just letting it go wild for a period of time.
I just cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour, then I just use my fingers and squish the butter as I turn the bowl. You can feel for the bigger lumps. Works for me and there is no other tools to clean up.
I use a wire pastry blender as described above. I also use this utensil for making egg salad.
Boru has the easiest way. You can freeze the stick of butter (or margarine) for easy handling. It has to be really hard or one will have a mess! I have a metal pastry blender that works really well--far more time-saving than the way my mother taught me of using the two knives.
I was never satisfied, with pastry blenders, until I
got a Pampered Chef one. I've used it 3 years and
have been very pleased!
I use both the knife and the pastry blender method. I use the knives at the beginning, to get the big pieces of butter/shortening cut down-then I use the pastry blender to cut it down even further...it makes the mixture nice and consistent.
First, the specialized pastry cutter (I think regardless of brand) is an essential tool in our kitchen. It seems like you might need a different tool when the butter is still in large pieces, but if you don't worry about it and keep cutting, you get a perfect, even crumb in very little time. Even if pieces of butter stick to the cutter on the first few cuts, as long as you are working with a reasonable ammount of flour (enough for a pie crust or a batch of biscuits) the flour will push the butter up and through the blades. My English wife (who learned to make pastry using the rub in method) thinks the pastry cutter is among the greatest of American inventions.
Second, the rub in method does work very well, too, but is more prone to problems. Three things are key to rub-in success.
1) The butter needs to be cold, fresh out of the fridge or even firmed up in the freezer for a few minutes.
2) Work quickly and very gently-don't press too hard with your fingers and don't do it for too long (both tend to warm the butter).
3) For any pastry you want to be flaky (like pie crust) it really helps if you have "cool hands"-if your hands are hot, you will over soften the butter and the resulting pastry will not be crisp, light and flaky. This is much less important for short-crust pastry, where the butter is worked more evenly in smaller remaining pieces into the flour (and flakiness is not the goal).
Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!