No matter what it’s called, the idea applies all over the world. Everyone loves a piece of stuffed and baked goodies.
Classic American apple and cherry varieties might be the first dishes that come to mind when the word “pie” is mentioned. But they are just a slice of the sweet and savory pies available to pastry lovers from Florida to the Philippines.
Under the broad definition of a pie as a filled and baked pastry, history has provided a wide variety of pies. Egyptian hieroglyphics show cakes filled with honey, nuts and fruit, while the ancient Greeks and Romans dined on pies filled with sweets and meats.
From there, the world of pies only expanded. Try some of these international pies when you’re traveling or make your own at home.
In ancient Rome, the first meat pies used the dough only as a container to preserve the tenderness of the meat, not to eat with the filling. It took a few centuries (and updates to the recipe) for the idea of eating the crust and meat filling to catch on.
The British and their colonies seem to have perfected the art of meat pie. The steak and beer pie is a pub favorite and has its roots in medieval pies, which used local meats, game and vegetables in a dough crust.
Tourtière is a hearty French-Canadian meat pie traditionally stuffed with ground pork and served during the Christmas season. A salmon version of the tourtière is common for those who grew up along the coast.
In Australia and New Zealand, meat pies split the difference between a traditional pie and a hand pie: reduced-sized double-crust round pies for single-serving meals. Meat and sauce is the most common filling for these pies, which are usually topped with ketchup or tomato sauce.
Speaking of portable meat pies, their ingenuity spans the world. Cornish pastries were popularized as a food for miners but are now so loved that they are protected by geographic origin.
Jamaican beef burgers and Nigerian beef pies are similar, but the Jamaican burger is distinguished by its saffron-infused golden crust and spiced filling.
And empanadas, believed to have originated in Galicia, Spain, are eaten throughout Latin America and the Philippines, among other places.
Other savory pies
As one of the birthplaces of pie, Greek cuisine has its share of sweet and savory pies to choose from. Spanakopita is one of the best known, with spinach and feta cheese stuffing inside puff pastry, but there is also its cousin hortopita, made with wild greens; Tiropita, a tasty cheesecake; and husbandpita, a fish pie.
Layers of puff pastry also form the crust of Albanian burek or byrek, savory pies that can be filled with everything from ground beef to spinach and cheese. The tomato and onion version of this pie is often known as Albanian pizza, with layers of caramelized onions and boiled tomatoes.
Sweet and savory pies
While meat pies were the norm for much of the pie’s early history, the spices used in many of these pastries bridged the gap between savory and sweet.
Pastilla, a Moroccan pie that also goes by the names bisteeya or b’stilla, is a spiced pie that combines poultry, almonds and eggs. While the pigeon or pigeon has been the traditional bird of choice, easier modern versions substitute chicken in the pie.
If you’re familiar with the soufflé texture of cornbread or corn pudding, the American Sweet Corn Cream Pie is a step further in the dessert direction.
Adding fresh corn kernels to a sweet custard or chess pie filling is a common theme for bakers and gardeners making the most of late summer produce.
Forget twenty-four blackbirds – if it grows on a tree, it can probably be baked into a pie. Fruit tarts are one of the best ways to enjoy seasonal produce.
Some of the well-known fruit pies in North America today originated with settlers who brought seeds from Europe or added native North American ingredients to their baking traditions.
Rhubarb became a popular pie filling in New England in the 1820s and spread south and west with the population. Concord Grape Pie uses the juicy, dark-skinned grapes native to North America (yes, the ones in every kid’s favorite jam jar).
Persimmon pies are found in archives of family recipes across the eastern United States, taking advantage of another native fruit that can be grown as far west as Iowa and as far north as Connecticut. With a texture similar to pumpkin pie, it’s no wonder this is a perfect pie for the fall crop.
Apple pie is hailed as the quintessential American pie – as Jack Kerouac wrote in “On the Road”: “I had another apple pie and ice cream; That’s pretty much all I ate in the entire country.”
But apple pie has its roots in Europe, with many of the apple varieties we know today imported to the North American continent.
Vlaai are Dutch fruit pies made with fermented brioche dough instead of the usual butter dough crust. While they can be filled with fruits like apricots, plums and cherries, a Dutch appelvlaai unites Old and New World dessert traditions.
other sweet pies
If baked fruit fillings aren’t your favorite, let pies with creamy fillings fulfill your dessert fantasies.
Fans of coconut cream pie should look out for the Filipino buko pie, a specialty of the Laguna province. This double crust pie is filled with strips of buko, or young coconut, suspended in a creamy coconut cream.
British Banoffee pie is quite modern by pie standards. Created by the chef and owner of The Hungry Monk restaurant in East Sussex, England in the 1970s, it is now a no-bake classic. The name is a portmanteau of its main ingredients: bananas and caramel sauce. While the original recipe (spelled banoffi) calls for a dough crust, many iterations use a cookie or biscuit crust.
Spicy lemon pie is a must when visiting Key West, Florida, where it is often served frozen in a crunchy chocolate shell.
Further up the east coast, North Carolina’s Atlantic Beach pie is a saltier version of the citrus pie. Crushed crackers form the base of the crust, and a lemon-lime filling gives citrus fans the best of both worlds.
Source: CNN Brasil