I love my kitchen gadgets. The hum, whiz and purr is music to my ears. But I do like to rock it old school when it comes to some kitchen gadgets. One of them is my beloved pastry blender.
It doesn’t have a plug in cord or moving parts but this little engine can and does make the best darn pastry or biscuit dough. Sure grandma used her fingers to work the butter, lard or shortening through the flour; mom used a fork; but my Jr. High School home economics teacher Mrs. Jackson armed us with a pastry blender to “cut the butter” into the flour to make biscuits.
The narrow, metal wires help to break up the fat (butter) into little lumps while incorporating it into the flour. These little lumps are what make biscuits and pastry flaky because it causes separation of the dough when it bakes.
Well enough of the technical stuff.
A few years ago I answered a cattle call for a reality cooking show. I had to bring a dessert to be critiqued by a chef. I brought my world famous pear tart – well it’s famous in my sphere. When the interviewed by the chef, he asked how I prepared my pie crust because it was so flaky. I told him I used a pastry blender. He said, “Ah, rocking it old school. Do you know why it works so well?” When I answered no he said, “The stainless steel wires help to keep the butter cold. When you use your fingers, they warm up the butter too much and to have a really flaky product the butter must remain cold.”
I recently replaced my pastry blender of 10 plus years. It was time for a new one. I miss my wooden handled one but this shinny new one is ultra sleek and cool. I picked it up from Williams Sonoma (featured above) for about $11. You can also get them from Target. Rock it old school. You won’t regret it.