Pastries are divided into two main categories: non-laminated and laminated. Non-laminated pastries include pie and tart crust, brioche and Pâte à Choux. Laminated pastries include strudel, Danish, croissant, puff pastry and phyllo (sometimes spelled as fillo or filo).
The terms "non-laminated" and "laminated" refer to the manner in which fat is added to the recipe. In a non-laminated dough recipe, the fat is cut, stirred or kneaded into the flour. In a laminated dough recipe, alternating layers of flour dough and butter are pressed together. Usually many layers of dough and butter are pressed together, which results in the pastry puffing up when baked, making it possible to fill the pastry with various ingredients.
Pastries have been enjoyed for several hundred years. The production and consumption of pastries became popular in England during the late 1600s. The ability to make pastries became such a highly sought-after skill that cooking schools in London began offering pastry-making classes.
There are nearly endless possibilities of varieties of pastries. Some pastries are savory and have meat or cheese fillings, some are decorated with colorful and delectable fruits, and some are drizzled in rich chocolate. These many varieties of pastries are enjoyed today in many different countries of the world.