(June 12, 2020) As one partakes of their favorite dish, sensory perception is magnified and satisfaction sets in.
But, history must be explored if one desires a complete culinary experience.
The chronicle of pies is fascinating and its transformation is a brilliant bite of progression. With that thought in mind, let us take a peek into the past and delve into one of America’s favorite desserts.
In Medieval England, pie began as a savory affair. Pie likely derived from magpies, the bird known for collecting odds and ends in its nest.
One might wonder what is the correlation?
This etymology depicts pie as edible vessel for leftovers. When you think about it, it was a clever way to add variance to one’s daily menu.
Believe it or not, but Medieval pies were literally stuffed with chickens, pigeons, crows, rabbits, and just about any other animal that could fit in between perimeters of its notorious crust.
What makes the history of pie even more astonishing is the fact that sometimes the legs of a particular animal were purposely left to hang over the side of the pie to be used as handles.
The crusts of Medieval England pies were anything but flaky and buttery. These pastries were purely functional; a tough shell that literally had to be cracked open to get to the filling.
The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans and called them “coffins.” The notion of a “round pie” simply did not exist.
So, the next logical thought takes us to how did these savory pies become the sweet, delectable treat Americans adore?
According to an article, “The History of Pies,” the answer is partly due to the peculiar way words evolved as they crossed the Atlantic and a lot to do with America’s craving for sugar.
When colonists brought recipes to America, translation took a turn of inaccuracy. What the English called a tart, the Colonists called a pie.
In other words, in England, a tart was the sweetened version of a pie, and a pie was considered a savory meat pie.
Native Americans were actually responsible for teaching the colonists how to incorporate berries and foraged edibles into their pies. This may seem trivial, but it started a transition in the tradition of pies.
So how did American pies evolve into the iconic dessert of present day? The answer is quite simple.
The success of the U.S. sugar industry revolutionized how America ate; sugar became inexpensive and readily available.
Homemakers and chefs alike took advantage of their new ingredient and brought new meaning to the word “dessert.”
Sweet or savory pies are quite popular and can be made ahead of time which is always a good thing.
Following is a recipe for a breakfast pie that is embellished with a bacon lattice.
Constructing the weave is quite easy. A few pointers are provided for a fabulous presentation.
Some recipes call for the raw bacon lattice to be placed directly on the pie prior to cooking. I would not recommend this because you will end up with a greasy mess.
Instead, precook the bacon lattice on parchment paper for 12 minutes, allow to cool, and carefully place it on the uncooked pie. Trim the edges so it conforms to the shape of the dish.
One should always learn from mistakes. After I made the bacon lattice, I realized I should have lined all the bacon so the fat is on one side and the meat is on the other side. It is these small details that makes your dish stand out.
In closing, a bacon lattice is not only delicious but it can add quite a “wow” factor to your breakfast pies. It also adds texture which enhances the overall consistency of your dish.
If one adores the art of entertaining, breakfast pies embellished with a bacon lattice are a must. Enjoy!
1-pound regular cut bacon
1. Preheat oven to 245 degrees.
2. Arrange half of the bacon slices horizontally in tight parallel rows on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Begin to build the weave: starting in the center, fold back the even-numbered strips.
3. Lay a slice of bacon perpendicular to the unfolded bacon.
4. Unfold the even-numbered strips over the newly added bacon strip.
5. Fold back the odd-numbered strips.
6. Lay a second perpendicular slice of bacon next to the first, then unfold the odd-numbered strips over it.
7. Continue weaving the bacon, alternating folding and unfolding even and odd-numbered strips of bacon.
8. Cover the weave in plastic wrap and gently roll it with a rolling pin to tighten it.
9. Cook for 12 minutes, remove from oven, and allow to cool. Using a paper towel, blot any excess grease.
Savory Pie Filling
1 prepared pie dough (homemade or store bought)
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups favorite shredded cheese
¼ cup sautéed spinach, drained and chopped
16 ounces frozen shredded potatoes, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Press prepared pie dough into pie pan.
3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in the cream, parsley, garlic, onions, salt, pepper, cheese, spinach and potatoes.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.
5. Very carefully place precooked bacon lattice on top. Using a pair of scissors, trim off the square edges so the lattice matches the circumference of the pie.
6. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and cook 60 to 70 minutes.
7. Allow to rest on a cooling rack for 3 minutes and serve immediately.
* The pie dough is optional.
Secret Ingredient – Bacon. “Bacon is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
– Benjamin Franklin