The History of Apple Pie

The origin of most customs and foods in America can be traced to Europe. The same is true of American Apple Pie. Not to upset the founding fathers, but apple pie, is not really American at all. Fourteenth century English often enjoyed meat pies. Fruits such as apples were substituted in traditional meat pies and served as dessert. Apple pie was a favorite dessert during the reign of Elizabeth I. During the mid 1600's, Oliver Cromwell banned many pleasures throughout the Commonwealth, including pie. Fortunately under the reign of King Charles II in 1660 England enjoyed a more pleasant lifestyle, as the King allowed them many pleasures previously denied by Cromwell, among them pie. Although the old style English cuisine is hardly considered gourmet, we are grateful that the colonials passed on the English "American" apple pie, and we are thankful for the thousands of bakers who have helped perfect the apple pie throughout time. 

In Colonial times the taste of a dish was emphasized more than appearance and presentation. Pies were often baked with a "take-off crust". The process allowed sugar and spices to be added after the apples had baked in the bottom pastry shell. Sliced apples were arranged in a pastry-lined pie pan. The pie was baked with the top crust loosely placed on top, but not sealed to the under crust. When the pie was done, the top crust was gently lifted off, sugar and spices were added and the top crust replaced before serving. Sometimes the top crust was baked separately from the bottom crust and assembled after both parts were completely cooled.