The term “pastry frame” can mean several different things:
- A pastry frame can be a mould to help in shape pastries being baked, such as when you cook a rectangle of puff pastry with edges around it, or pour a sponge cake batter into a frame to make a square, flat sponge cake foundation for a base. These frames are usually metal, and usually stainless steel. They often have movable slats, about 2 to 3 cm tall (about 1 inch), that let you divide them into differently-sized squares. They are open at the top and bottom and meant to be used with a baking tray that provides the base.
- Pastry frames can also be a stackable set of frames used in assembling large sponges, entremets and mousses. You take a thin layer of sponge, about the size of a quarter slab or larger, and assemble the first frame around it. The frame has corners that lock together, and will be anywhere from 10 to 20 mm high (3/8 inch to 3/4 inch). Your spread your first layer of pastry cream or mousse on top of the sponge slab, then chill it, then assemble the second frame on top. You apply your second layer of topping within the frame, chill again, then repeat with the third frame for the final layer. Usually the sets include frames of three different heights; you start with the tallest one first.
- A pastry frame can be an edible frame actually made out of pastry, such as puff pastry;
- A pastry frame can be a clamp-like physical device to hold a pastry cloth in place while working. See separate entry on “pastry frame.”