On Thursday 23rd January it is Pie Day, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the joy that is pie!
We are a nation of pie lovers, with research showing that 75% of us enjoy one at least once a month.
Origins of Pie Day
Pie day is an annual celebration of pies that started in the mid-1970s by Colorado nuclear engineer, brewer and teacher Charlie Papazian. Although Pie Day seems like an opportunity to gorge on your favourite sweet and savoury pies, the Pie Council was in fact established to assist and improve the Pie industry. The Council work with industry leaders as well as fledgling cooks and companies to promote the good work within the industry and new flavours and products.
- Pie is an ancient dish originally conceived by the Romans. The first example of a meat-filling enclosed in pastry, can be tracked back to ancient Rome. Fruit pies first appeared in the 1500s, but the history books cherry pie show that the first cherry pie was served up to Queen Elizabeth I in the late 16th Century.
- In Medieval times, chefs often competed with one another to create the most ‘entertaining’ of pies; some saw birds emerging out of the pastry and there were even rumours of dwarves jumping out during large feasting events!
- Mince pies were banned in the 17th Century by Oliver Cromwell who saw them as a sign of gluttony. The ban didn’t last long, however, and people could once again enjoy these tasty treats.
- Pies have proven to be popular in nursery rhymes. Four and twenty blackbirds were baked in a pie in “Sing a Song of Sixpence”, Little Jack Horner put his thumb into a pie and Simple Simon met a pieman in the popular children’s rhyme.
Proper Apple Pie
As Pie Day originates in America, what better type of pie to celebrate the occasion than apple pie?! This easy recipe, via BBC Good Food, produces a dessert ‘like mum used to make’ – using large chunks of Bramley apple enclosed in shortcrust pastry.
For the pastry
- 255g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 140g butter
- 6 tsp cold water
For the filling
- 3 large Bramley cooking apples, chopped, stewed and cooled
- Sugar, to taste
- Caster sugar, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
- Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the cold water to these dry ingredients. Then, using a knife, mix the water into the flour. Use your hands to firm up the mixture.
- Divide the pastry in two. Take one half and roll it out so that it can cover an 20cm/8in enamel or aluminium pie plate. Trim the edges with a knife. Put the stewed apples on top of the pastry and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry and cut it into strips to create a lattice effect to layer over the apple mixture. Moisten the edge of the bottom layer of pastry and place the lattice strips on top. Press down on the pastry edges, making sure they’re properly sealed. Trim off any excess pastry with a knife in a downward motion. Flute the edges with a pinching action, using your fingers and thumb.
- Prick the surface of the pastry lightly before placing the pie in the oven. Bake for 20–30 minutes. When the pie is cooked, it should move slightly on the plate when gently shaken.
- Slide onto a serving plate, dust with caster sugar and serve with cream or ice cream.
For all the baking paraphernalia you need for this tasty recipe, head to Van Hage in PE1.