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A lattice cutter is a kitchen tool which is designed to help cooks create neat, even lattices for lattice-topped pastry such as pies. There are two different types of lattice cutters. One is a cutting stamp, which punches a lattice design into a single sheet of pie dough. The other is a rolling cutter which creates uniform strips of dough which can be woven into a lattice topper. Many kitchen supply stores sell lattice cutters, and they can also be ordered from companies which specialize in pastry supplies.
A lattice topping is a lacy woven topping which allows consumers to peep at the ingredients inside a pastry. Lattice topping is more commonly used on pies and tarts, although it can be used on other pastries as well. Strips of lattice can also be utilized to create shape and texture on pastries like Danishes. The topping looks stylish, and it is is relatively easy to make; many cooks like to use it to dress up their pastry with an old fashioned look.
In the case of a rolling lattice cutter, the cutter creates even strips of dough so that the resulting lattice will be even and more aesthetically pleasing. To use a rolling lattice cutter, the baker rolls out the dough to the desired thickness and then runs the cutter over the dough. The strips of dough can be woven over a pie filling to create a lattice topping, with the ends being pinched to the bottom crust of the pie so that they do not separate during the cooking process.
A cutting stamp is much quicker and easier to use, although the end result is not quite as charming as a woven lattice. The stamp is punched into a sheet of rolled out dough, which can be lifted as a single unit to top a pie. The edges of the sheet of dough must also be crimped to the bottom crust to prevent separation. Some cutting stamps also come with fanciful designs like hearts which make the resulting lattice more fun.
A good lattice cutter will be made from a sturdy metal which will stand up to repeated use. As with other sharp tools, you should avoid running a lattice cutter through a dishwasher, since the edges can be dulled. When you are shopping for a lattice cutter, look for one without nooks and crannies for dough and fat to accumulate in, and try to find a lattice cutter with a sheath or shield to keep the cutting edge sharp. A sharp cutting edge will yield crisply cut lattice without ragged edges or tears.
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