It’s Pie Week!
How you doin’? Boy are you lucky--It’s Pie Week! While I like to think of pie being the all-American dessert—it really isn’t. Pie has been around since about 2000 B.C. during the time of the ancient Egyptians. Between 1400 B.C. and 600 B.C., it’s believed pie was passed on to the Greeks and then spread to Rome around 100 B.C.
The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. They must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century.
The early pies were predominately meat pies. Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn.” There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I… she never looked lovelier than when she wore her apron with her crown.
Pies traveled to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term “crust” was used instead of coffyn.
Over the years, pie has evolved to become what it is today “the most traditional American dessert.” Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now commonly use the term “as American as apple pie.”
Making the crust is the hardest part of making a great pie. As an alternative you can use a store-bought frozen or refrigerated crust—I do on occasion, but I am usually disappointed. To that end, I’ve included a recipe for Ed’s Perfect Flaky Pie Crust below. I can judge the worth of a home-baked pie by the quality of the crust.
This recipe for Old Kentucky Home Pecan Pie is worthy of your Thanksgiving table… or any time you feel like you need a southern hug!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour
Yield: 5 to 8 servings / 1 (9 inch) pie
1 cup white corn syrup (Karo)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon warm water
1-1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 recipe pie shell for two (2) 9-inch crust pies (see below)
ChefSecrets: Here are a couple of neat options to dress up your pie.
Ed’s Perfect Flaky Pie Crust
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes minimum
Yield: 2 single or 1 double (9-inch) crust
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon sea salt
You will need the following equipment: A food processor, paring knife, measuring cups and spoons, rolling pin, pastry or bench scraper, 9-inch pie plate, pastry brush.
ChefSecret: Make it a really flaky crust, substitute lard or shortening for all or some of the butter in this recipe.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “Things have gotten so bad; mothers in Beverly Hills have fired their nannies and had to learn their children’s names.”
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