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Pondering pie: A quick historical past of filled-crust desserts

The previous couple of years, I’ve made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. It was by no means a staple in our family, till I discovered a very good recipe.

This yr although, I’ve determined to go all out, and make three pies — conventional pecan and apple. For the third I’ll both follow pumpkin, or attempt a chocolate mousse pie recipe I’ve had my eye on for years.

I have already got a tried-and-true crust recipe. It’s easy, and fail-proof when baked in my stoneware pie plate at my oven’s pie setting (don’t know what that setting does, however it’s unbelievable — by no means produces a soggy crust).

All this planning made me take into consideration the historical past of pies. I’m conversant in many variations — candy and savory — from completely different cultural cuisines. However what defines a pie, and the way previous is our custom?

Hand pies may be discovered around the globe in various kinds. Empanadas, samosas, spanakopitas and Lithuanian kibinai are a couple of of my favorites.

Apparently pie purists outline a pie as having each high and backside crust. With out a high crust, it’s thought-about a tart. Tarts may very well be thought-about a subcategory of pies.

The earliest pie recipe we’ve on file is from 2000 B.C. Written in Egyptian hieroglyphics on a pill, and it’s for hen pie. The Egyptians additionally made honey-filled pie with barley, rye oat or wheat crust.

On-line sources presume pies have been like expertise, and cultures discovered from one another. Whereas I’m positive there’s some reality to that, I’d additionally guess that there was numerous simultaneous growth.

Pies have been used all through historical past as a technique of preserving substances. Typically crusts have been made to be extra of a bundle, reasonably than an edible a part of the dish.

Thick crusts, sealing a filling in was a good way to retailer meals, particularly when touring (assume sailors or different explorers). Crusts in medieval occasions have been known as “coffyns” (or coffins) — mainly which means a field. This made me consider bioplastics … taking one thing edible and processing it to be a container reasonably than meals.

Attributable to sugar being a comparatively specialty merchandise, pies have been largely savory all through a lot of historical past. Meat was the widespread filling in lots of cultures.

Pies have been centerpieces for meals and leisure in medieval Europe — stay birds have been usually sealed into outer crusts to burst by means of in a flurry at a banquet desk. Different animals have been additionally typically used.

The primary recorded cherry pie was baked for Queen Elizabeth I. Though this pie most certainly was not significantly candy, it marked a turning level for pie fillings.

Whereas apple pie looks like an American custom, it was really introduced over from England. Creator Geoffrey Chaucer wrote down a recipe for apple pie. It didn’t comprise sugar, however known as for figs, raisins and pears which should have made it candy.

A colonial cookbook from the late 1700s lists three kinds of candy pies. A cookbook from a century later has eight candy pie recipes and there are numerous recipes these days.

I believe few dishes are extra versatile and satisfying than pie. Savory or candy, pie strikes a beautiful stability between the gentle filling and a carby crust.

Whereas I received’t be including in any stay animals into my pies this week, I do plan to take somewhat additional time to make fairly crusts in addition to tasty fillings.

ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, beforehand writing for The Dominion Put up. She makes use of expertise gained engaged on natural farms in Europe to assist her discover prospects of native productiveness and sustainable residing in Preston County. E-mail [email protected].