The Life of Pie – National Pie Week

The 4th of March is the start of Britain’s National Pie Week, to celebrate our humble British Pie.

But pie certainly does not have to be humble! Indeed, to celebrate National Pie Week I decided to create a not so humble Apple Pie…

But before mine, lets look into the life of pie.

Pie has a rich history actually dating back far further than you would originally guess. Pie like dishes have actually been around since the ancient Egyptians! The earliest pies were usually meat pies, created to solve the need for long lasting food that was easy to carry for travellers, working men, and sailors.

Pie has a strong history with the working man, from Egyptian sailors, to, of course, our well loved Cornish pasty, which was created for miners to take a nourishing meal into the mines without their food becoming contaminated. The pastry around the Cornish pasty was actually not often eaten, just used to protect the meat and veg inside from dirty hands, the traditional ridge along the top of the pasty used to hold onto the pie as it was eaten.

In medieval times people had restricted access to ovens due to their costs of construction and need for abundant supplies of fuel. Therefore, in villages there would be one large fire, which many families would use to cook their meals.  Pies could be easily cooked over an open fire, and families would encase their fillings in their own defined pie casing, so that when the pies were cooked, each family would know whose meal was whose.

The first sweet fruit pies were not seen until the 16th century, and the first recorded recipe for apple pie was found in the UK, which also called for figs, raisins, pear and saffron.

There are now over 100 different types of savoury and sweet pies, originating from as far as Trinidad and Serbia, to our own home shores here in the UK. Some are, more strictly pies, but we also have others, not containing the traditional pastry, such as shepherds pie.

So, what better pie to celebrate National Pie Week, than our much loved Apple Pie, and as I said before, my Apple Pie, is far from humble, with this rich history, why can pie not be Art? I wanted my pie to truly be a celebration of pie.

For my pie, I decided to go a little less traditional and the crust is actually cookie crust rather than pastry. It’s really delicious but as the cookie crust is sweeter than pastry, I added less sugar to my fruit filling.

So, here it is, my Mother and Child Cookie Crust Apple Pie.

Mother and Child Cookie Crust Apple Pie

Rather than pastry my pie was made with a cookie crust. I lined and baked my pie tin with the cookie crust, and was baked as you would a normal pastry lining. My pie was then gerneously filled with a cinammon and apple filling.

Each piece of the cookie crust was hand cut and baked to make all the pieces of this mother and child image, they were then layered onto the pie and hand painted using gel food colours and petal dusts. The flowers were cut from fondant to create further dimension to the finished effect.

I really enjoyed doing something a little different, to my usual cakes, and I think the finished piece was certainly worth the time and effort as a celebration as pie. Although my sons reaction to it was just “So, how do I cut it mum?”  But, cut it we did, as pie is meant to be eaten and it tasted damn good too!

So, what’s your favourite pie that will be on your menu this week to celebrate National Pie Week?

See you next time! Victoria

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