Apple, blueberry, peach and lemon, savory, hand or even Pop tarts! Pie is what happens when pastry meets filling. Pie can be closed, open, small, large, savory or sweet. The basic concept of pies and tarts has changed little throughout the ages.
Cooking methods (baked or fried in ancient hearths, portable colonial/pioneer Dutch ovens, modern ovens), pastry composition (flat bread, flour/fat/water crusts, puff paste, milles feuilles), and cultural preference (pita, pizza, quiche, shepherd’s, lemon meringue, classic apple, chocolate pudding). All figure prominently into the complicated history of this particular genre of food.
The first pies were very simple and generally savory (meat and cheese) kind. Flaky pastry fruit-filled turnovers appeared in the early 19th century. Some pie-type foods are made for individual consumption. These portable pies… pasties, turnovers, empanadas, pierogi, calzones…were enjoyed by working classes and sold by street vendors. Pie variations (cobblers, slumps, grunts, etc.) are endless
Pie funnels were used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust by allowing steam to escape from inside the pie.They also supported the pastry crust in the center of the pie, so that it did not sag in the middle, and are occasionally known as “crustholders”. Older ovens had more problems with uniform heating, and the pie bird prevented boil-over in pie cooking
“Sing a song of six-pence, a pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.
Now wasn’t that a tasty dish to set before the king!”
The Frisbie Pie Company was founded in 1871 by William Russell Frisbie in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when he bought and renamed a branch of the Olds Baking Company. The company was located on Kossuth Street in Bridgeport’s East Side, where nearby schoolchildren tossed the plates around and yelled “Frisbie” so they wouldn’t get hit by the spinning tins. The game the children played made its way to nearby college campuses.
In 1958 the name Frisbie was picked up by Wham-O, a California-based firm who had acquired the rights to the “Pluto Platter”. As the pie tin was the same shape, it was discovered that children were already using the term for the flying disc and therefore a spelling amendment to avoid trademark infringement gave birth to the name Frisbee
The Pie Eating Contest: Face-stuffing has been around for centuries, of course: the Edda, a collection of 13th-century Norse myths, tells of an eating contest between the god Loki and his servant (the servant won by eating the plate). But organized competitive eating — consuming as much as you can, as fast as you can, within a given period of time — is relatively new.
The Moon Pie or MoonPie is a popular United States confection which consists of two round graham cracker cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in a flavored coating. The snack is often associated with the fare of the American South where they are traditionally accompanied by an RC Cola. Today, MoonPies are made by the Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, TN.
MoonPies have been made at the Chattanooga Bakery since 1917. Earl Mitchell Jr., said his father came up with the idea for MoonPies when he asked a Kentucky coal miner what kind of snack he’d like to eat. The answer: something with graham cracker and marshmallow and dipped in chocolate. When Mitchell’s father asked how big it should be, the miner looked up in the night sky and framed the full moon with his hands
As you can see, the history of “pie” is thick, rich and a little flaky. No matter how you choose to consume them, the multitude of flavors and varieties will be sure to keep you coming back for more…piece by piece.