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Now Pastry is a mainstay of our dessert tables, but when it first appeared in our kitchens it was just a coarse paste of rough flour and water.
Made by hand into a thick standing 'coffyn' and used as a container to cook and serve stews and fish.
It was not eaten but discarded after the meal.
Over the years pastry making improved with the addition of butter, lard or suet, until Elizabethan times.
While the standing 'coffyns' were still being used, pastry was being rolled out much thinner and providing cases for small savoury pies and fruit tarts in which the pastry was eaten as part of the dish.
Puff pastry made its appearance from Italy and by the middle of the eighteenth century recipes were beginning to appear in cookery books using pastry fortified with eggs or cream for a richer mixture.
Followed in the nineteenth century by the addition of sugar to make sweet pastry for continental type flans and tartlets.
A Word About Pastry