Pie is as much American as baseball, reality TV, cowboys, jazz, and cheeseburgers. This year is predicted to be the year that the humble pie finally receives some well-deserved time in the spotlight.
The first recipe for pie was published by the Romans, a goat cheese and honey pie in a rye crust. However, variations of pie were around long before this. It is thought that the ancient Egyptians started making pies with the sole purpose of holding a filling, which was usually meat and spices–the crust was rarely eaten. Pies remained as mostly non-dessert dishes until the 1500’s when the English give credit to Queen Elizabeth for making the first cherry pie. English settlers brought pie recipes to America. The early American crusts were puffy and tough and, like in Roman times, were not often eaten. Contrary to what many of us learned in grade school, pie was not eaten at the first Thanksgiving. After the American Revolution, pie crusts had finally developed enough that they were now considered part of the dish and eaten. Pie has blossomed into what we know today and has become the quintessential American dessert.
“As American as apple pie” has become a staple patriotic expression. But there are 12,000 registered recipes of pie! Everyone has a favorite. Strawberry rhubarb, chocolate, key lime, coconut, buttermilk, pecan, pumpkin, or savory pies like chicken pot pie, lobster, or Shepherd’s pie. Then there are a variety of toppings: whipped cream, a slice of cheddar cheese, chocolate sauce, carmel, or a’la mode. Almost everyone has a cherished memory tied to pies – summer pies, like peach or blueberry, pies that grandmas would make like apple or peach, or holiday pies like pumpkin or pecan. Pie is a tradition and staple for many of our biggest celebrations.
The Pie Trend
This year expect to see pies on every menu. Mini pies, sweet and savory pies, pie pops (on the heels of cake pops), appetizer pies, breakfast pies… Many culinary experts are anticipating the pie to be the new “it” food and it is easy to see why. With so many variations, it is hard to go wrong with pie. Move over frosting and sprinkles, it is pie time!