Three Amazing Pastry Dishes From Around the World

Pastry is defined as a food item made of dough, then baked. Pastry’s different from bread because it’s light and flaky and often full of fat. Some kinds of pastry have a sweet or savory filling. Just about every region on earth has their own version of pastry, even if they don’t quite call it that! Here are three examples of amazing pastry dishes found around the world.

Spanakopita

This Greek pastry dish is made with spinach and feta cheese. The pastry covering is made out of phyllo dough, which is an unleavened dough. This means it doesn’t use yeast or anything else to make it rise. This is fortunate, for the leaves of phyllo dough are so thin that light should be able to pass through them. The pastry chef must use a very long table and a roller to stretch the dough out to the size of a table cloth. Now, however, phyllo dough can be made by machine, though many cooks claim that it’s not the same. Fortunately for people who want to make their own spanakopita, phyllo dough is available in the frozen foods section of many supermarkets.

The filling for spanakopita is fairly simple, as it’s made up of spinach, feta cheese, scallions and eggs. Spanakopita itself, which can be made without eggs, is often eaten during Lent in Greece.

Croissants

Making croissants, a staple of French cuisine even though its origins are Turkish, is a job of work. However, if a croissant is well made, nothing beats it for tenderness, flakiness or butteriness. Basically a square of butter is placed between sheets of dough and rolled, then folded, then put in the fridge, then rolled again and the process is repeated. Eventually, it’s cut into triangles, then bent into that traditional crescent shape, brushed with an egg wash and put in the oven to bake. Croissants can be had for breakfast with coffee — some people dip them into their coffee, or their hot chocolate. A croissant can be cut open and filled with thin sliced ham with and a couple of slices of brie cheese and put in the microwave for a few minutes, or it can be had for dinner, slathered with even more butter, honey or jam.

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Chinese Dumplings

Are these pastries? Of course! They’re made out of rice flour dough or wheat starch skins wrapped around all kinds of ingredients. Like phyllo dough, these skins are so thin that they’re translucent. The most delectable of these dumplings include shrimp dumplings, which are filled with chopped shrimp and steamed. Other dumplings are filled with minced or ground pork, dried shrimp, black or cloud ear mushrooms and vegetables. Pot stickers, which are steamed, then pan fried, are filled with meats and shredded cabbage. Often, the rice flour package is sweet while the inside is savory, which gives the diner an irresistible taste sensation. They can be eaten with all kinds of dipping sauces. Traditionally, dumplings are steamed in multi-tiered wooden steamers.

Anthony is a pastry chef at Dedes Restaurant in Sydney, Australia. Anthony has been a pastry chef for 7 years, and loves researching different pastry dishes from around the world to inspire his own pastry creations.

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanalexander/2273765907/

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