Thanksgiving is upon us. Some people get excited about the turkey, the potatoes, or other amazing sides, but what about the pie? For me it is all about the pie.
My Personal History With Pie
I remember getting really excited when my grandma was coming for Thanksgiving because that meant she was bringing a pecan pie. She has an amazing recipe for pecan pie that you can find here.
A Dating Disaster
I love pie so much I made it my mission several years ago to learn how to make a solid homemade version. When I first began baking my journey, it didn’t go so well. I tried to do a simple crust to fill with pudding and other amazing things. However, my crust would always shrink down to nothing when I baked it. I had some family members tell me I need to put some pie weights or beans in the shell while it baked. They also said in a pinch you can do rice. What they didn’t tell me was you need to enclose the rice in a pouch as a weight.
I decided I’d use this newfound technique on a date that I had coming up. A decadent chocolate cream pie was sure to impress and win me a second date right?? I mixed the ingredients for my crust and rolled it out. I put it in the pie tin and shaped it just right. Then I took a handful of hard, grainy rice and tossed it in for good measure. That was bound to fix my problem with the shell shrinking. Wrong!! I didn’t enclose the rice in anything and I had crunchy raw rice baking into my crust.
Learning From Failure
We were able to salvage the dessert somewhat, and we had some laughs along the way. I learned a lot from that experience. Some home cooks would throw in the towel after such an embarrassing moment. Not me. I took it as a personal challenge. I had to succeed.
Since then I have successfully mastered this fantastic dessert. I make amazing pies. That’s my humble brag. I make savory pies and sweet pies. Double crust and single crust varieties. I LOVE IT!
Now for Some History
Why Pie? You might be thinking I already answered that.. because it is thanksgiving etc.. No that’s not what I mean. I mean, why pie? Why that word?
There are a lot of theories on where the word “pie” came from. I like the following best. Some say that it came from a magpie This is a bird that is known for collecting all sorts of odds and ends into its nest. Like a magpie’s nest, in the medieval times, pies contained all sorts of odds and ends. Think about it. Today we might take a chicken pot pie, put in chicken, cream, herbs, carrots, peas, potatoes, and who knows what else. In medieval times they’d put all kinds of veggies into a crust and often multiple different meats. One recipe I made from the 1700’s has beef, veggies, and oysters in it.
To go deeper into the history, pie seems to stretch back to early Rome. The romans would make it where a crust or reeds would hold the fillings. These casings were not meant to be eaten. The Romans likely got this idea from the greeks.
Let’s Add Fruit!
Fruit pies came on the scene in the 1500s in England. They take credit for making the first cherry pie when it was served to Queen Elizabeth the 1st! This popular pastry eventually came to America with the English settlers and evolved over the years to where it is today. Settlers from different countries brought their own twists to pie. The dutch brought aromatic spiced pies. The French, of course, brought making pies with butter and making tarts. Swedish immigrants brought berry pies.
Today pie is a uniquely American dessert. Sure other country’s have tarts and pies, but no one does them quite as rich and over the top as American Pie. After all, we are known to say that we are as American as Apple pie.
Want to Learn More?
You can learn more about the history of pie here.