The pastry cutter is one very useful tool for a chef. There are a lot of recipes for pastry and a lot of them require this tool to be used. Even if you can do all those things without the pastry cutter, simply by using two knives or a fork, using the pastry cutter will make your job so much easier.
A plus is that the tool is not at all expensive as it usually costs between $5 and 10 US Dollars. The pastry cutter is made of many u-shaped wires. These wires connect themselves to the straight handle. The pastry blenders for example have a small protrusion on one side of their handle. By using this protrusion you are able to rest the thumb while cooking. It is truly useful and it offers relaxation for the thumb but also a better control over the cutter.
These wires in the cutter allow you to easily chop off the ingredients. You can first try to cut the butter in smaller parts using the wires. Then you can rock the blender a bit back and forth in order to create a nice mix. For the piecrust you will know it is perfect when the mix will look like cornmeal. You can also add liquid into the pastry and still use the cutter. It worked in that way as well. But at some point, because of the liquid, it can get sticky. Even if the pastry cutter can allow you to make piecrusts, you can also use it for potatoes. You can make mashed potatoes by using the pastry cutter but do not use it to smash very hard things. The wires are hard and they might not work on things like bread or other hard things.
Using the pastry cutter
First you have to make sure that the cutter is very clean. It has to be impeccable as imperfections can screw up your whole recipe. Scrub to remove all the excess ingredients left on the cutter.
Chill that pastry cutter a bit before you use it. Use ice cold butter or some cold water. In this way the ingredients will not get warmed up and ruin the recipe. You can try to put the cutter in the freezer 30 min before using it. You can remove it just before you need to do the pastry.
Mix all the ingredients carefully. Put the butter and flour together and rock the pastry cutter to mix all. Use ice water if you want to add some liquid. Add the water slowly as you do not want to ruin things. Work up the mix until you see that it incorporated all the ingredients.
You should know that one can use the cutter for other things. The pastry cutter can be used as a blender or the chef’s knife. There are a lot of creative ways to use this tool. You can use it to cut bread or vegetables in various manners and you can make gnocchi with the cutter. It is simply a matter of using your imagination. There are a lot of forums online where people discuss about the various ways of using a pastry cutter. Go online and see what the others did with the cutter and improvise from there. Then go into the kitchen and start improvising on your own recipes very fast.