|The History of Apple Pie|
History of apple pie is a long one. It goes back to at least the fourth century. And it was probably first made with apples that were grown in this region of the Mediterranean. By all accounts though, the pie was not developed in the United States until much later, probably during the mid-nineteenth century.
Apple pie, in one shape or another, has been around as long as the ancient Egyptians. The earliest versions were very different from what we know today s. For one thing, apple cider was not always used this was because it was an expensive and rare commodity. Secondly, the pie was known as a cell, or coffin pie, and it was not meant to be eaten; rather, it contained the entire apple filling, preserving it for future use.
Early versions of apple pie were probably not very different from the version that we know today. What has changed over time? The ingredients have of course. In early days, it was often baked with butter or bacon, though the fruit itself was eaten only occasionally.
How did Apple Pie became popular in America?
In 1697, America saw the mention of its first apple pie in Allen Metcalf's book, America in So Many Words: Words that have Shaped America. Believed to be brought over by Swedish, Dutch, and British immigrants, apple pie quickly became a part of the American culinary repertoire.
In medieval times, additions of sugar and other spices to the basic apple pie recipe made it more palatable. One popular addition was cinnamon. This was a key development in early modern commercial food, as it gave the pastry with a sweet, nutty flavor. However, the additions of cinnamon and other spices brought along with them the potential for the creation of a bad taste. As a result, apple pie became associated with bad tastes and was discouraged altogether.
It was not until the mid-eighteen hundreds that baking applesauce for pies began to appear. This new innovation used a mixture of apples and water as a binder. The new binder allowed for a greater variety of flavors than could be found in older recipes, though it was still largely dominated by cream and sugar. It was also a step forward toward the commercialization of this American favorite.
When did America get apple pie?
While apple pie was being consumed in Europe in the 14th century, the first instance of its consumption in America wasn't recorded until 1697, when it was brought over by Swedish, Dutch, and British immigrants.
Pie crusts were almost as diverse during the colonial period, as they were for most of the history of the American apple pie. In certain coastal areas, pies had a variety of fillings, though the majority remained sweet, buttery and butter flavored. Filling variations included all manner of nuts and dried fruit, though walnuts and hazelnuts were especially popular. Other fillings included sugar, eggs, spices and even ground beef or mutton.
Along the east coast, New England and the upper Midwest, the ingredients and style of making apple pie consistently changed from region to region. Though the basic recipe was almost the same across the board, because of the differences in climate and soil conditions each region had a unique mix of ingredients, styles and recipes. One of the biggest reasons for these regional differences developed was because of the differences in crops. At first, wheat and potatoes provided the main ingredient of the pie, but as early as the eighteenth century local crop produce became more abundant in each region and the availability of these crops was more than offset by the lower quality ingredients of locally grown apples.
Apple pie has evolved over the centuries to the extent where a person can find practically any combination of fillings in the recipes of today. Because of the huge variety, some recipes have come to include ingredients like cinnamon to give a deeper cinnamon flavor, or walnuts to give a nice walnut flavor. Alternatives to applesauce, which was primarily a thick, rich and sweet pudding, have included cream cheese filling or "pie butter". The history of apple pie is an interesting one and will continue to captivate foodies for many generations to come.