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A device, also referred to as a pastry cutter, that is used to cut butter or other solid fat when it is to be blended into flour for making pastry dough, generally pie crusts. The pastry blender has a curved, slotted end with blades or wires that connect to a handle on the opposite end that is held and moved in an up and down or rocking motion to cut and blend the fat ingredients into the dry ingredients. The blender helps to remove lumps in order to mix the dough thoroughly and eliminate pockets of concentrated ingredients so they do not adversely affect the flavor of the food being prepared.
Recipes that refer to "cutting in the butter" as a procedure are suggesting that the butter be combined with all other dry ingredients in a manner that cuts the solid butter into smaller pieces, combining into the mixture of ingredients in a way that will not require melting and then combining. By using a pastry blender, this task is simplified and is easily accomplished.
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