A-Z Pastry Terms for Techniques, Tools and Ingredients.

From mastering techniques like folding and tempering to wielding essential tools such as whisks and sifters, every baker and pastry enthusiast should grasp fundamental pastry terms.

In this article, we’ll unravel the language of pastry, delving into techniques, ingredients, tools and concepts that are fundamental in the world of baking and pastry arts. Understanding them can enhance your baking skills and creativity in the kitchen.

Although some tools are noted in this article, in our article on pastry tools, we disclose a comprehensive list of the pastry tools for pastry, bread and cake making often used by pastry chefs.

This article also mentions a few pastry items made by pastry chefs. For a list of desserts and pastries that pastry chefs must know, please click the link if you wish to know more.


Aerate is incorporating air into a mixture, typically by beating ingredients like eggs or butter until they become light and fluffy. Aeration is crucial in baking to create a light and tender texture in cakes, batters, and mousses.


A bain-marie, also known as a water bath, is a cooking technique where a food container is placed in a larger pan of hot water. It’s often used for gentle and even cooking of delicate custards, such as crème brûlée.

Blind Baking.

Blind baking is the process of pre-baking a pie or tart crust before adding the filling. This prevents the crust from becoming soggy when filled with wet ingredients.

Blown Sugar.

Blown sugar is a decorative technique in pastry where sugar syrup is heated and then blown through a straw or tube to create intricate sugar sculptures, such as flowers, ribbons, or delicate decorations.


A type of bread made with baking powder or soda instead of yeast. In the United States, a biscuit is a soft, flaky, and slightly leavened bread often served with savoury dishes or as a base for biscuits and gravy.


Brioche is a rich, sweet bread or pastry dough enriched with butter, eggs, and sometimes sugar. It has a tender crumb and a slightly sweet flavour, making it perfect for breakfast or dessert.



Caramelisation is a cooking process where sugar is heated until it melts and turns into caramel, resulting in a sweet, golden-brown colour and a rich, nutty flavour.

Chantilly Cream:

Chantilly cream, also known as whipped cream, is sweetened and flavoured whipped cream often used as a topping for desserts like pies, cakes, and hot beverages.

Confectioner’s Sugar:

Confectioner’s sugar, also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar, is a finely ground sugar used for making frostings, glazes, and dusting over pastries for a decorative finish.


Confit is a preservation method where foods like fruits or citrus peels are slowly cooked in sugar syrup. These preserved items can be used as garnishes or ingredients in pastries and desserts.


Coulis is a thick sauce made from pureed fruits or vegetables, often sweetened and used as a drizzle or accompaniment for desserts like cheesecakes and ice cream.


Creaming is a mixing technique where butter and sugar are beaten together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. It’s commonly used as a starting point for many cake and cookie recipes.

Crème Pâtissière:

Crème pâtissière, or pastry cream, is a thick, custard-like filling made with milk, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. It’s commonly used in pastries, tarts, and éclairs.


Crimping is a technique used to seal the edges of pastry dough, such as in pie crusts or turnovers, by pressing them with a fork or fingers to prevent the filling from leaking during baking.


Crumb refers to the interior texture of baked goods like bread, cake, or muffins. It describes the fine, tender, or coarse structure of the baked product’s interior.


The crust is the outer, firm, and often browned layer of baked goods, such as the crispy crust of bread, the flaky crust of pies, or the golden crust of pastries.

The crust is the outer, firm, and often browned layer of baked goods.


Curdling occurs when a mixture, often containing dairy products like milk or cream, separates into solids and liquids due to excessive heat or acidity. It’s an undesired outcome in many recipes.

Cut In:

To cut in is a mixing technique used in pastry where cold fat (usually butter or shortening) is incorporated into dry ingredients like flour. This is done using a pastry blender, fork, or fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.


A dash is a small, informal measurement used in recipes to indicate a tiny amount of an ingredient, typically a liquid or spice. It’s smaller than a pinch and is often added to taste.


Dissolving is mixing a solid substance, such as sugar or salt, into a liquid until it completely disappears, forming a uniform solution.


Docking is the process of pricking the surface of pastry dough with a fork or special tool to prevent it from puffing up during baking, as seen in tart or pie crusts.


To dot means to place small pieces or spots of an ingredient, such as butter, over the surface of a dish or filling, often to add flavour or moisture during baking.


Dough is a mixture of flour and liquid, often with added ingredients like fat, sugar, and yeast, used as a base for various baked goods, including bread, cookies, and pastries.



Drizzling involves pouring a thin stream of a liquid, such as icing, syrup, or melted chocolate, over a baked or cooked item to create a decorative pattern or add flavour.

Dry Ingredients:

Dry ingredients in baking typically refer to ingredients such as flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices that are in a solid or powder form. They are often combined separately from wet ingredients in recipes.


An emulsion is a stable mixture of two immiscible liquids, such as oil and water, achieved by adding an emulsifying agent like egg yolk or mustard. Emulsions are essential in pastry for creating stable dressings, sauces, and fillings.


To flute is a technique used in pie crusts where the edges of the pastry are pinched or crimped to create decorative ridges, sealing the top and bottom crusts together.


Folding is a gentle mixing technique used to incorporate delicate ingredients, like whipped egg whites or whipped cream, into a heavier mixture without deflating or losing the airiness of the lighter ingredient.


Fondant is a smooth, pliable icing from sugar, water, and glucose syrup. It’s commonly used to cover cakes for a clean and polished appearance and can be rolled out and moulded for intricate cake decorations.

Fondant is commonly used to cover cakes for a clean and polished appearance.


A galette is a rustic, free-form pastry that typically consists of a flaky dough (such as pâte brisée) folded over a filling, which can be sweet or savoury. It’s often baked to a golden perfection and has a charming, uneven appearance.


Ganache is a rich mixture of chocolate and cream for fillings, glazes, and frostings. It can vary in consistency from a pourable glaze to a thick, whipped filling.


A glaze is a thin, glossy coating applied to pastries, cakes, or bread to add shine and flavour. It can be made from ingredients like sugar, syrup, or gelatin.

Glazed doughnuts


Grating involves using a grater to reduce solid ingredients, such as cheese, chocolate, or citrus zest, into fine shreds or particles for incorporation into recipes.

High Altitude:

High altitude refers to regions located at a significant elevation above sea level. Baking at high altitudes can require recipe adjustments due to differences in air pressure and humidity that affect baking outcomes.


Hydration in baking refers to the ratio of liquid to flour in a recipe. It affects the dough’s consistency, texture, and final product.


Lamination is a technique used in pastry to create multiple layers of dough separated by layers of butter. It’s the process behind flaky pastries like croissants and puff pastry.


Leavening refers to adding agents like yeast, baking powder, or baking soda to dough or batter to make it rise and become light and airy. This creates the desired texture in bread, cakes, and pastries.


Lukewarm describes a temperature that is moderately warm but not hot or cold. Lukewarm water or milk is often used in baking to activate yeast or dissolve ingredients like sugar.


Marzipan is a sweet, pliable almond paste often used in cake decorating and sculpting. It can be coloured, moulded, and shaped into various decorative figures and designs.

Mealy Pie Dough:

Mealy pie dough is a pie pastry where the fat is incorporated thoroughly into the flour, resulting in a crumbly, mealy texture. It’s often used for savoury pies and tarts.


Meringue is a mixture of whipped egg whites and sugar. There are three main types: French (uncooked), Swiss (heated), and Italian (sugar syrup added). Meringue is used in various desserts, from pies to soufflés.

Mise en Place:

Mise en place is a French term that means “everything in its place.” It refers to prepping and organising all the ingredients and tools needed for a pastry or baking recipe before you begin cooking or baking.


To mould means to shape a dough or mixture into a specific form or mould, often for creating uniform pastries or bread.

Muffin Method:

The muffin method is a mixing technique for making muffins and quick breads. Dry ingredients are combined in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, and then the wet ingredients are gently folded into the dry ingredients until combined to avoid overmixing.


Nougatine is a caramelised mixture of sugar and nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts. It’s a crunchy filling or decoration in pastries and desserts like pralines, cakes, and tarts.

Pâte à Choux:

Pâte à choux is a light, airy pastry dough that makes cream puffs, éclairs, and profiteroles. It’s leavened by steam during baking, resulting in a hollow interior.

Pâte Brisée:

Pâte brisée is a classic French shortcrust pastry for making savoury and sweet pies and tarts. It’s made with flour, butter, water, and a pinch of salt.

Pâte Sucrée:

Pâte sucrée is a sweet shortcrust pastry used for dessert tarts and pies. It’s similar to pâte brisée but includes sugar and sometimes egg yolks for a tender, sweet crust.


Pectin is a natural substance found in fruits and used in pastry as a gelling agent. It’s commonly added to jams, jellies, and fruit fillings to thicken and set them.

Pie Pastry:

Pie pastry is a basic dough used for making pie crusts. It typically consists of flour, fat (like butter or shortening), water, and salt. The type of fat used determines the texture, such as mealy or flaky.

Pie Weights:

Pie weights are small, often ceramic or metal, beads or balls used to weigh down and prevent the crust from puffing up during blind baking (pre-baking) of pie or tart shells. This ensures a flat and even crust.


Piping involves using a pastry bag and various tips to shape dough, batter, or icing into decorative patterns or designs, such as rosettes, shells, or lettering.


Piping Bag:

A piping or pastry bag is a cone-shaped bag made of cloth, plastic, or disposable materials. It’s used for piping batters, fillings, and decorative elements onto pastries and cakes.

Here is a good piping bag with tips to start off with


Polishing in pastry refers to brushing or glazing a baked item with a shiny finish. It’s often done with ingredients like melted apricot jam or sugar syrup.

Poured Sugar:

Poured sugar is a technique where sugar is heated to a liquid state, then poured and manipulated to create decorative elements such as sugar sculptures, pulled sugar ribbons, or sugar decorations for pastries.


Praline is a sweet mixture made from caramelised sugar and nuts, often ground into a paste. It’s used as a filling for chocolates, confections, and desserts.


Profiteroles are small, hollow pastries made from pâte à choux dough baked until puffed and golden. They are typically filled with sweet fillings like pastry or ice cream and drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce.


Proofing, in baking, refers to the final rise of yeast dough before it’s baked. It expands the dough and develops flavour, resulting in a lighter and more flavourful baked product.



Pulsing is a blending or processing technique used with food processors or blenders. It involves quick, intermittent bursts of blending to achieve a desired texture, often used when making pastry dough or chopping ingredients finely.

Sablé Dough:

Sablé dough is a crumbly, sandy-textured pastry dough for making cookies and tarts. It’s named after the French word for “sand” due to its texture.


Shortbread is a buttery and crumbly Scottish cookie made from simple ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour. It’s a versatile base for various desserts and is often enjoyed on its own.


Sifting is passing dry ingredients, such as flour or cocoa powder, through a fine mesh sieve or sifter to remove lumps, aerate the ingredients, and ensure even distribution in a recipe.



Strudel is a flaky pastry filled with sweet or savoury ingredients, such as apples, berries, cheese, or vegetables. It’s typically rolled


Tempering refers to the controlled process of gradually raising or lowering the temperature of an ingredient, such as chocolate, to achieve the desired consistency or prevent crystallisation. Tempering chocolate is typical in pastry to ensure a glossy and stable finish.


A whisk is a kitchen tool with wire loops for mixing and incorporating ingredients, especially in baking. It’s efficient for blending, beating, and whipping, ensuring smooth and uniform textures in batters and mixtures.


Yield refers to the quantity or number of servings a recipe produces. It tells you how much food you can expect to make from a given set of ingredients and instructions.

Yield refers to the quantity or number of servings a recipe produces.


Zest is the outer, coloured part of citrus fruit peel, typically obtained by grating or peeling. It’s a flavourful and aromatic ingredient in pastries, desserts, and savoury dishes.

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