Test Kitchen tips: Pastry cutter
A pastry cutter, also known as a pastry blender, makes quick work of cutting flour through cold butter to make pie and pastry crusts, as well as quick breads. The tool is composed either of several wires connected to a single handle or several stainless steel blades (as shown above) connected to a handle.
I recommend looking for a pastry cutter with a thick and sturdy non-slip handle. Avoid the pastry cutters that use wires -- the wires are not as strong as blades and can bend out of shape easily. Look for a cutter with the blades as shown above -- not only are the blades stronger, but the cutter can double as a mashing tool when working with other ingredients, such as cooked potatoes. Pastry cutters can be found in cooking and baking supply stores, as well as online, and should set you back no more than $10.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times