Pastries go back to the ancient Mediterranean almost paper-thin multi-layered baklava and filo. Medieval Europe took on pastry making after the Crusaders brought it back. French and Italian Renaissance chefs eventually perfected the Puff and Choux pastries, while 17th and 18th century chefs brought new recipes to the table
Pastry is distinguished from bread by having a higher fat content, which contributes to a flaky or crumbly texture. A good pastry is light and airy and fatty, but firm enough to support the weight of the filling. In the Mediterranean, the Romans, Greeks and Phoenicians all had filo-style pastries in their culinary traditions. There is also strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians produced pastry-like confections.