During this month of national pie holidays, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite types of pie. From apple to cherry and key lime to lemon meringue – we’ve got the most delicious variations covered.
The Ancient Greeks can be thanked for the first introduction of pie pastry as we know it today. The development of both sweet and savory pies continued through Ancient Rome, and due to the portability of pie, it became a highly popular way to bring food on the go.
Today we love pies of all shapes and sizes, fully covered with pastry crust or sprinkled with a crumble – whichever way compliments the filing more! Let’s dive into some of the best sweet pies.
TYPES OF PIE
A classic American favorite, apple pie has been around in some form since the Middle Ages and actually has Dutch roots! Whether the top is latticed pastry or crumble, the filling is sweetened with sugar and cinnamon, and lemon juice adds acidity and keeps the apple from turning brown. Can’t go wrong with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
Often associated with fall and winter, this decadent pie is filled with a mixture of pecans, eggs and sugar (usually in the form of syrup). States in the southern US are known for their pecan pies, and often add in bourbon whiskey or even chocolate to change things up a bit. This delicious version from the New York Times incorporates both of these additions and would make the perfect addition to your holiday table.
Best made at the peak of peach season, this pie lets the star ingredient speak for itself. If the peaches are perfect, there is little that needs to be done to prepare them for the filling of this pastry crust pie. Keep your eyes peeled for peach pie in the summer months, particularly July, and make your own version with a bit of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to slightly spice up this delicious stone fruit.
Banana Cream Pie
A custard based pie, the only part of this confection that’s baked is the crust. The custard is made with egg yolk, milk and heavy cream which is then layered with sliced bananas and covered with a healthy serving of whipped cream on top. We also love the English take on this classic, banoffee pie, which as you may have guessed – combines the sweetness of toffee made from sweetened condensed milk, bananas and cream. Yum!
A Thanksgiving favorite that we all know and (maybe) love, pumpkin pie is also a treat enjoyed all fall and winter long. Utilizing this seasonal gourd, the pie is usually made with canned pumpkin for ease of use. Pumpkins are native to North America and recipes referencing this baked treat go back to 1675.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb has been a popular ingredient in its native United Kingdom since the 1600s, and was spread throughout Europe by Marco Polo. A strawberry rhubarb pie combines two seasonally spectacular UK ingredients in one delicious package. Rhubarb can be quite tart, so there is usually a fair amount of sugar added to balance this out. The crust often follows that of over traditional pastry pies, with latticed or full coverage on top.
Traditionally filled with tart Morello cherries, this pie can have a latticed or solid pastry crust on the top and is served with whipped cream. The ideal time of year to create this treat is the summer months when cherries are at their very best. We also love a version that combines some tart and some of the darker cherries, for a nice balance of flavors.
This light and fluffy pie has a mousse-like filling – made with either meringue or whipped cream and a type of gelatin-thickened fruit curd (lemon is most popular). Interesting fact: The Pie King of Los Angeles, or Monroe Boston Strause, first created this pie in 1926!
Key Lime Pie
Popularized in the Florida Keys, this tangy pie utilizes the small Key limes that are found in the area. They offer a more tart and robust flavor than the limes we find in the rest of the country. The Key lime juice is combined with eggs and condensed milk to make a sort of custard, which doesn’t need to be baked for very long. The top usually consists of whipped cream or meringue and is garnished with zest of the limes.
Another citrus based treat, lemon meringue pie is another curd-based pie, covered in luscious meringue and baked to achieve a golden brown effect on the top. Some chefs are known to use an Italian meringue as the topping, which is made with heated sugar that then cooks the egg whites as it’s incorporated. This is then browned with a torch on top, rather than baked in the oven.
This minty fresh dessert is not actually baked in any way – not even the crust which is made from ground up chocolate sandwich cookies. The pie filling is set using eggs, and often times gelatin, before being poured into the cookie crust. The pie is then topped with generous amounts of whipped cream and placed in the refrigerator or freezer to set.
Contributed by Martha Cromar