A pastry bag fitted with the appropriate-size tip is the most efficient tool for piping uniformly sized mounds of dough for recipes like our Choux au Craquelin and filling the baked puffs with cream. If you’re new to working with a pastry bag, these tips can help you pipe like a pro—as well as reduce waste.
1. Prevent Leaks
Place pastry tip in bag. Twist bag near tip and gently press twisted portion into tip to create temporary barrier. (When ready to pipe, pull on tip to release barrier.)
2. Fill Efficiently
Place pastry bag in tall container and fold down sides. Fill halfway (multiple smaller loads, versus a single big load, are easier to manage, especially if you have small hands).
3. Do the Twist
Twist upper half of bag closed to push contents down toward tip; twisted upper half will allow you to continue exerting pressure on filling to pipe.
4. Remove Air Bubbles
Before piping in earnest, press out small amount of filling on parchment paper or other surface; this eliminates air bubbles that can cause filling to spurt unevenly.
5. Get Every Last Bit
When bag is almost empty, lay bag on side and use plastic bowl scraper or credit card (avoid metal tool, since it can tear bag) on outside of bag to press contents toward tip.
6. Clean and Reuse
As long as it isn’t punctured, even a disposable pastry bag can be reused. To clean, turn bag inside out and scrub gently with warm, soapy water; stand up to air-dry.
Consider the Bismarck
If you make filled pastries frequently, you might want to consider purchasing a Bismarck piping tip. Because the nozzle of a Bismarck tip is long and thin, it can get deep into pastries for maximum filling. Fit it into your pastry bag as usual and load the bag with your filling (smooth fillings only, please); then, insert the nozzle deep into the center of your pastry and squeeze. As the pastry begins to fill, slowly pull the nozzle out of the pastry, continuing to squeeze as you go. Bismarck tips can be found at baking supply stores and craft shops and online.