Skip to content

Where Did Pie Originate? A Historical Journey

Where Did Pie Originate?

Pies originated in ancient Egypt and Greece.

The word “pie” appeared in the expense accounts of Bolton Priory in Yorkshire in 1303.

The ancient Greeks are believed to have originated pie pastry, while the Romans made various types of pastry to cover meats and fowls.

The Roman Empire’s efficient road transport helped spread pie cooking throughout Europe.

Pies remained a staple for traveling and working people in colder European countries, such as England, where the first reference to “pyes” as food items appeared in the 12th century.

Pies became highly regarded and popular in the 19th century, and different cultures and regions developed their own pie specialties.

Quick Tips and Facts:

1. The concept of pie can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where hieroglyphs depict early bakers making pastries with fruits and nuts.
2. The first recorded recipe of a fruit pie dates back to 14th-century England, consisting of figs, raisins, and pears, spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and saffron.
3. Contrary to popular belief, the word “pie” actually comes from the Medieval English word “pye” or “piȝe,” which referred to any dish made with a pastry crust.
4. Pie was not always sweet; early pies were commonly filled with meat, such as pigeon, lamb, and even eel, and they often included various herbs and spices.
5. The Pilgrims brought their love for pies to America, and the first Thanksgiving dinner is believed to have featured several varieties, including pumpkin and cranberry pies.

Ancient Origins: Pies In Egypt And Greece

Pies have a rich history that dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece. In Egypt, pie-like pastries filled with honey and fruits were created as early as 2,500 BC. In Greece, the Greeks perfected the art of creating delicate and flaky pastry, which became an essential component of pies. They filled these pastries with a variety of ingredients, ranging from meat and vegetables to cheese and honey. These early versions of pies were often baked in clay ovens, showcasing the Greeks’ culinary prowess and innovation.

The Rise Of “Pie”: Tracing The Word’s History

The term “pie” itself has a fascinating etymology. The earliest recorded usage of the word can be found in the expense accounts of Bolton Priory in Yorkshire, England in 1303. Here, the word “pie” was used to describe a meat-filled pastry. However, it is important to note that this usage referred specifically to the pie’s filling, rather than the entire dish.

It wasn’t until later that the term “pie” encompassed the entire dish, including the pastry encasing the filling. This expansion in meaning is a testament to the growing popularity and versatility of pies. As the dish gained prominence throughout Europe, the word “pie” became a commonly used term to describe a range of baked goods, both savory and sweet.

Greeks And The Pastry Revolution

Ancient Greece revolutionized pie-making through the introduction of pastry. The Greeks realized that by combining flour, water, and fat, they could produce a flaky and crispy dough when it was baked. This innovative pastry concept enabled the development of a diverse range of pie fillings, ranging from savory to sweet.

The Greeks were renowned for their culinary creativity, using a combination of meats, vegetables, and even honey and nuts to fill their pastries for sweet pies. Their expertise in pastry-making techniques paved the way for future generations to experiment with limitless pie variations, both within Greece and beyond.

  • The Greeks introduced the concept of pastry in pie-making.
  • Mixing flour, water, and fat resulted in a flaky and crisp dough.
  • Their pastries encompassed a wide array of fillings, including savory and sweet options.
  • By using a medley of ingredients, such as meats, vegetables, honey, and nuts, the Greeks showcased their culinary ingenuity.
  • This mastery of pastry-making techniques laid the foundation for endless possibilities in pie creation.

“The Greeks’ contribution to pie-making was revolutionary, as they introduced the concept of pastry and created a wide variety of delicious fillings.”

Roman Influence: From Plain To Rich Pastry

The Romans, known for their gastronomic indulgence, further advanced the art of pie-making. They developed two types of pastry: a plain pastry used for covering meats and fowls during baking, and a richer pastry for making smaller pasties filled with delicacies such as eggs or little birds.

The first written reference to a Roman pie is described as a rye dough filled with goat’s cheese and honey. This delectable combination showcased the Romans’ penchant for combining contrasting flavors to create gastronomic delights. The Roman Empire’s extensive road network facilitated the spread of pie culture, ensuring that these delectable creations reached various corners of Europe.

  • The Romans advanced the art of pie-making with two types of pastry: plain pastry for covering meats and fowls, and richer pastry for smaller pasties.
  • The first Roman pie was a rye dough filled with goat’s cheese and honey.
  • The Romans displayed their penchant for combining contrasting flavors.
  • The Roman Empire’s road network helped spread pie culture across Europe.

Spread Of Pie Culture: The Role Of The Roman Empire

The Romans played a significant role in spreading pie cooking throughout Europe. They had a vast empire and an efficient road transport system, which helped in the dissemination of this culinary tradition. Pies quickly became a staple for traveling and working people in colder northern European countries. There, the dish provided a reliable source of sustenance during long and arduous journeys.

In these colder regions, where butter and lard were the main fats used in cooking, pie dough evolved to incorporate these ingredients. The addition of fats helped create a flaky and flavorful crust, providing a comforting and nourishing experience for those consuming it.

Pie’s Evolution Throughout History

Over the centuries, pies have evolved and adapted to the cultural and regional preferences of the communities that embraced them. In England, the first reference to “pyes” as food items appeared in the 12th century. These pies were primarily savory, filled with various meats and spices, reflecting the prevailing tastes of the medieval era.

As time went on, sweet pies gained popularity, with ingredients such as sugar, eggs, currants, and apples making their way into the mix. The pumpkin pie, brought to America by early colonists, became a national dish and a staple at Thanksgiving celebrations.

Pies flourished in the 19th century, as technological advancements made ingredients more accessible and introduced new culinary possibilities. Recipes were traded and shared, and pie-making became a beloved tradition passed down through generations.

Today, as we rediscover our pie heritage, people are seeking out old family recipes and embracing the diversity and nostalgia that pies bring. From traditional favorites like the Cornish pasty to new creations inspired by various world cuisines, pies continue to captivate and comfort us, showcasing the enduring appeal of this ancient culinary delight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who invented the first pie?

The origins of the first pie remain debated, as different ancient civilizations contributed to its development. While the Ancient Egyptians were credited with creating early versions of pies, the Ancient Greeks played a pivotal role in refining the concept. It was during the 5th Century BC that the Greeks introduced pie pastry, as documented in the plays of Aristophanes. The emergence of pastry chefs as a distinct profession in this era further solidified the Greek influence in the evolution of pies. Ultimately, the invention of the first pie is a culmination of ancient culinary contributions rather than a single individual’s creation.

Is pie an American thing?

Yes, pie is definitely an American thing! While originally borrowed from English cuisine, pies have undergone significant adaptation by American cooks over generations to suit the ingredients and culture of the United States. This culinary evolution has resulted in a rich diversity of American pies, incorporating a wide range of flavors and fillings. From the classic pumpkin pie enjoyed during Thanksgiving to the beloved apple pie that has become almost synonymous with American tradition, pies have truly become an integral part of American culinary heritage. Whether it’s a sweet or savory pie, these delicious treats have become an iconic symbol of American cuisine.

Where did pie come from food?

Although the Greeks are credited with creating the pastry shell, the true origin of pie can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to combine a sweet filling, such as dates or honey, with a crust made from flour and water. This early form of pie spread through the Mediterranean and eventually reached the Greeks, who added their own twist to it by incorporating various savory fillings.

As the pie-making tradition expanded, it was the Romans who truly embraced its versatility. Their pies were a culinary adventure, incorporating not only different types of meats but also unexpected ingredients like mussels and other seafood. The Romans’ love for experimentation and their access to a variety of ingredients from their expansive empire added a richness and complexity to pie-making, laying the foundation for the countless variations that we enjoy today.

Did England invent pies?

Although the Romans are often credited with inventing pies, the origins of this beloved dish trace back even further to Ancient Egyptian times. While the Roman influence popularized pies in Europe, evidence suggests that the Ancient Egyptians were already enjoying similar dishes centuries earlier. These early versions may not precisely resemble the modern-day pie, but they laid the foundation for what would become a culinary tradition across many cultures over centuries.

The Ancient Egyptians developed a pastry-like dough made from various grains, which they filled with a variety of ingredients like fruits, nuts, honey, and even meat. Although the concept evolved over time, it is intriguing to learn that pies have been enjoyed for thousands of years, and the Ancient Egyptian influence played a crucial role in their development. So, while England has contributed significantly to the invention and innovation of pies, we cannot discount the ancient heritage that predates them.

Share this post on social!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *