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The Great British Passion for Pastry

Our Magnacoolers are extremely versatile, able to cool a wide range of baked goods. We wanted to take some time to explore some of the culinary creations that are cooled by our Magnacoolers and this month we’ve chosen pastry!

The history of pastry goes right back to the ancient civilisations of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, where evidence suggests that they used a filo-type pastry to create things like cakes, tarts and other sweet treats.

Roman Honey Cake

It’s also thought that the Romans used to create a basic pastry dough that they utilised as a shield for meats when cooking. This kept the meat moist and protected the outside so it would not burn and as such was never intended to be eaten – they threw it away. Both the Greeks and Romans struggled in making a good pastry because they included oil in the cooking process, which causes the pastry to lose its stiffness.

Fast forward to Medieval Britain and we start to see what resembles a shortcrust and puff pastries. This developed into hot water crust pastry and the emergence of the hand-crafted pies that were popular centre pieces, often proudly displayed at feasts.

Once pastry was well established in the UK, our now famous, regional variations started to appear. Savoury items like the Cornish Pasty and Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. Conveniently cased in robust pastry, they were portable packed lunches for the workers of the time. Made with cheap ingredients, they were a staple food for the working class.

Sweet treats included the Manchester Tart, where a layer of raspberry jam is covered by a custard filling and topped with desiccated coconut. Similar to this is the Liverpool tart which has a lemon filling and also from the North West is the Eccles cake, a mixture of spiced dried fruits, encased in puff pastry. Over in Derbyshire, a small town gave it’s name to it’s most famous export, the Bakewell tart.

Pastry has had a long journey in Britain and has risen to be a mainstay of British Baking. What’s your favourite?

Want a pastry fix? Here’s a quick and easy recipe to get you going. BBC Good Food – Chocolate and Ginger Tarts (


  • plain flour, for dusting

  • 375g/13oz ready-made shortcrust pastry

  • 250g/8oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped

  • 250ml/8floz double cream

  • 75g/3oz stem ginger, finely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  2. Dust the work surface with flour and roll the dough out thinly. Use it to line one large 25cm/10in tart ring or 6 individual tartlet rings 10cm/4in in diameter. Trim away any excess.

  3. Line the tart case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the base of the tart is golden-brown and cooked through. Remove the tart from the oven and set aside to cool.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan set over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth and thick.

  5. Sprinkle the finely chopped stem ginger over the base of the tart, reserving a little to garnish.

  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart shell and chill in the fridge for 45 minutes, or until set. Sprinkle over the remaining stem ginger.

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