Pros: Doesn’t shed bristles; dishwasher-safe; easy to clean; doubles as a baster; comes with its own stand; looks like a squid
Cons: Small parts are potentially easy to lose
Rating: 5 out of 5
First published 11/30/2005
Review item courtesy of Cuisipro and Jardina Communications
When most companies improve on a long-existing kitchen product, they do it in small ways. They use a different material. They change the shape slightly. They add a new feature. When Cuisipro improves on a long-existing kitchen product, they reinvent it from the ground up. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to after trying out a handful of their products.
Take their silicone pastry brush for example. Really, what can you do to a pastry brush to improve on it? Make the bristles or handle out of a different material? Shape it so that it’s easier on the hands? As it turns out, you can do a lot more than that. And I’m still staring at this little thing in surprise at the difference it makes. It might be tempting to think, upon looking at the translucent squid-shaped silicone “brush” with its little stand, that the company has opted for form over function, but with use I found the opposite to be the case.
First, the squid-tentacle brush. I know, I keep using that word, ‘squid.’ I just love the vaguely squid-like design of this thing; it’s unusual and appealing in a playful sort of way. But more than that, it’s useful. The “bristles” of this brush are pretty odd; they’re wide and flat and made of silicone. They really don’t look very effective, and yet they’re surprisingly useful. They trap liquids between them quite well. This means more of what you’re brushing onto your food goes onto your food instead of dripping all over the place. They also work well for brushing sugar off of homemade marshmallows, for example; instead of just pushing stuff around, they actually pick sugar up and trap it. Better than that, you won’t have any more bristles getting shed into your food. I’d almost given up on traditional pastry brushes because of that phenomenon. You can also fit this brush into your dishwasher, which means–gasp!–it’ll come clean! Normal pastry brushes can be such a total pain to clean that this alone makes this brush worth it.
I’m still not done with the cool features, though. The handle–which screws apart from the head–is ergonomically shaped and pliable, making it easy on the hands. It’s also hollow, allowing you to fill it with a basting liquid (or other liquid you want to brush onto something, such as melted butter for pastry), and a dripless valve in the head helps to keep the basting liquid from coming out when you don’t want it to. Since the brush handle is translucent you can even see how much basting liquid you have left.
Then there’s the brush stand. Normally when using a pastry brush I have to lie it flat on a paper towel or plate or prop it awkwardly against something. Sometimes this ends in a minor disaster, such as bits of paper towel stuck to the pastry brush or a sticky pastry brush on the floor (which makes for happy cats, but an unhappy cook). With the Cuisipro brush you can just tuck it vertically into its stand. It has a nice, flat base to keep it upright, and it contains any mess, leaving you only the stand to wash–which can just go into the dishwasher with the rest of the brush parts.
The brush separates into three parts–handle, head and stand–for washing. It would be pretty tough to wash thoroughly by hand, so it really helps to be able to put it through the dishwasher. You should tuck it into a utensil cage or something similar, however, because the head is small and potentially easy to lose.
All in all… well, let’s just say I never thought I’d have this much to say about a pastry brush. The Cuisipro silicone pastry brush has a surprising number of features (I think I forgot to mention that it’s heat-safe to 572 F/300 C) and has been reinvented in ways that make it far superior to a traditional brush. I have no reservations in recommending it, and expect to get much use out of mine.