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A pie is a baked dish served hot or cold that consists of a filling and a shell made from pastry.

Pies can be prepared in round pie dishes – which ist the most typical form in English speaking cultures – but also in rectangular dishes, heatproof bowls, cups or terrines.

Pies can be savoury or sweet, the fillings range from meat, fish and vegetables to fruits, chocolate or custards. Savoury pies are served as a main course or snack. They are popular takeaway food. Sweet pies are mostly served for dessert. The pastry can only form the bottom or cover the top of the pie or it encloses the filling completely. When it has only a bottom crust, it is usually called tart in Britain.

Examples for different pie varieties:

  • Bouchées (small puff pastry with savoury filling),
  • Croustades,
  • Rissoles,
  • Timbales,
  • Tarts (or tartlets).

Pies probably date back to the ancient Egyptians. They spread to the Greeks between 1400 and 600 B.C. and from there to the Romans around 100 B.C. In Europe they became popular in medieval times and it became a real art to produce pies for the nobility. In England pies appeared in the 12th century.

Medieval pie recipes where enhanced, when the New World was discovered and until then unknown spices were brought home to Europe. European pie making had its high time in the 14th and 15th century. Between the 16th and 19th century the recipes where refined once more and the preparation advanced. French pie makers – who had an especially well reputation – could be found in every European court.

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