Making pastry is a skill, but one that's well worth mastering. If you know how to make good pie and tart crusts, you can get as creative as possible making sweet and savory dishes. Pot pie, quiche, fruit pies, chocolate tarts… the sky's the limit. A big key to success at making pastry is having the right tools. This list of pastry tools will help you become a pro at making the flakiest pies and most tender tarts!
A dough scraper, or bench knife as they're often called, is handy for unsticking pastry from a surface, dividing chunks of dough, scraping clean a work surface or a rolling pin, or even transferring chopped foods from a cutting board to a bowl or pan. This stainless steel dough scraper, from Sur La Table, has a comfortable rolled handle and handy rulers so you can easily check the size of your rolled-out crust.
A pastry blender (or pastry cutter) lets you easily blend butter or shortening into flour. This sturdy version, discovered by the baking experts at King Arthur Flour, has diamond-shaped stainless steel blades that won't bend even with the most vigorous use, and a comfortable molded plastic handle.
Many professional bakers swear by the simple design of a handle-free rolling pin for better control and more power, especially when rolling out stiff chilled dough. This smooth maple pin, made by Vic Firth, is 2 inches in diameter and 19.5 inches long.
If your beautifully crimped crust tends to burn before the filling's finished cooking, covering the edges with a pie shield can help. This lightweight nonstick pie shield from King Arthur Flour fits on a 9-inch pie and has a cute embossed fruit design.
This ovenproof glass pie plate browns crusts perfectly - and you'll be able to monitor its progress through the transparent glass. The glass retains heat well, in fact, you might need to lower your oven temperature by 25˚F to avoid overbrowning. A 9-inch pie plate is the standard size. Bright-red silicone strips add a colorful accent and also serve as easy-to-grip handles.
This classic tinned steel tart pan has a removable bottom and fluted sides to create a beautiful, professional-looking tart. Be sure to put this tart pan on a sheet pan before putting it in the oven so that you can remove it easily.
For blind baking - which means baking the pie crust or tart shell without a filling - a pie weight chain will keep the bottom of the pastry from puffing up as it bakes. Coil this 10-foot strand of stainless-steel beads in the bottom of the pie pan before baking for an evenly cooked and uniform tart or pie shell.