Recipes and Tips for making Pie.
The History of Pies
The history of pie is rich in flavor. Pies have been around for thousands of years, we know this, since the ancient Egyptians kept records of their practices and pie is included there, along with all the mysteries and charm of those long ago days. The Egyptians would fill their pies with such ingredients as honey, fruit and nuts. The visitors to Egypt learned as many of their secrets as possible. The ancient Greeks liked the idea of pie and took the recipes home with them, then surrendered the recipes to the Romans, who thought so much of pie as to make offerings of pie to their deities. Since then the rich history of pie has grown while traveling to many different lands, many people enjoy pie.
Did you know that pie was originally a simple cooking and serving container fashioned of dough for containing and cooking the enclosed ingredient as well as their juices? When a pie had a crust, it was at that time known as a coffin, although pies with no crust were at that time known as traps. Large, short-sided pies are tarts and very small pies are tartlets. When someone made a pie of some type of bird, he or she would leave the legs of the bird outside the edge of the pie and used the legs for handles.
Pies at that time had a very hard crust and were very often too hard to be eaten, since the crust of the pie was used mainly for baking the pie as there were no pie pans back then. Think primitive pottery here, at times it was also known as bulletproof dough. Because of this quality, between the 13th and 16th centuries, many pies held live birds, frogs and other small creatures, even dwarfs and sometimes a small orchestra. These were contained inside the pie to emerge to enliven royal feasts with entertainment.
Pies made their way to England and soon showed up in America with the first colonial settlers, them bringing along cottage and shepherd’s pie. From the American natives, the pilgrims learned the many healthy fruits and berries. Women at that time conserved their rations by making round pies and shallow pies. During the 1700s, pie first saw one of its best celebrating moments while gaining popularity in many homes, picnics and fairs. Many people have enjoyed pie eating contests or pie throwing games. Pies and their recipes have traveled a very long way from where they began to this present day.
As pie has moved along through the years, it has been adapted to fit into every culture it has touched. We enjoy pie today made of many different ingredients, such as meats of beasts, fowl and fish, vegetables, berries, fruits and nuts as well as cheese, custards and creams of many flavors. Many generations have seen the passing down of family pie recipes and many are still secret today. An assortment of many different sweet and savory seasonings and ingredients are included in pies. The smell of a pie baking can bring back fond memories of family and friends as well as build new ones. In homes the world over, someone will be baking a pie, while someone is savoring the wonderful aromas that make home so sweet.
The first pies, called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as "traps." These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). These crust were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.
A small pie was known as a tartlet and a tart was a large, shallow open pie (this is still the definition in England). Since pastry was a staple ingredient in medieval menus, pastry making was taken for granted by the majority of early cookbooks, and recipes are not usually included. It wasn't until the 16th century that cookbooks with pastry ingredients began appearing. Historians believe this was because cookbooks started appearing for the general household and not just for professional cooks.
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