'Cut in' means working solid shortening into dry ingredients with two knives or a pastry blender until well mixed. When making a pastry, solid shortening, lard, or butter is cut in to a flour mixture until the particles are the size of small peas. This creates a flaky texture by coating the flour proteins with shortening, interrupting the gluten formation.
Pronunciation: kutt in • (verb)
Also Known As: blend
Examples: "Cut the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until the particles are the size of small peas."
The purpose of cutting butter or solid shortening into flour is to create a flaky texture in pie pastry and cookies. This isn't a difficult process, but it takes time and some patience. Use two knives and cut across the shortening, working it into the flour. If you have a pastry blender, this process takes less time. You can also use your fingers, mixing the fat with the flour lightly with your fingertips.
Don't work the shortening into the flour so much that it becomes a solid mass. You should stop when the pieces of shortening coated by flour are about the size of small peas. Sometimes the recipe will tell you to cut the shortening into the flour until the pieces are the size of crumbs. Just follow the recipe and do what it tells you to do.
Busy Cooks Glossary