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How-To

Filling a Pastry Bag without Making a Mess

Fine Cooking Issue 36
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Using a pastry bag to pipe beautiful cookies, meringues, and decorations will go much more smoothly if you first fill your pastry bag properly. Start by selecting a bag that’s larger than you think you’ll need. Good all-purpose sizes to buy are 10- and 12-inch bags. (The small cake-decorating bags sold in kits are really only useful for small tasks, like writing.)

1. Twist the bag just above the tip and stuff the twisted part into the tip. This keeps any mixture from coming out while you fill the bag.
2. Hold the bag loosely about halfway up, and with your other hand, fold back the top of the bag to form a large cuff or collar.
3. Using a spatula, scoop up the mixture and plop it into the pastry bag. Scrape the spatula against the cuff to remove excess. Continue until the bag is half full. (Don’t overfill: the mixture would soften from the heat of your hands before you finished piping).
4. Unfold the cuff, twist the bag above the mixture to close it, and untwist the tip end. Before you begin piping, hold the bag over the bowl and twist the top to force the mixture all the way to the tip to eliminate any air bubbles. Squeeze until a few inches of the mixture push through the tip.

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