A Crusty Tale

It’s that time of year.  The leaves are changing (if you are from somewhere other than Southern California), and those of us in the U.S. are starting to think about the upcoming holidays.  If you are like me, and I know a lot of people are, you skip the Thanksgiving turkey and go straight for the desert.  For me there are many desserts that I love, but pie has to be my favorite.  Have you ever made a pie from scratch?  I know I haven’t.  Well, not totally from scratch.  I have made several pies, but I have always used a store-bought crust.  This week I plan on starting my journey to become a pie crust maker.

Here is the problem:  What type of crust should I make?    There are so many types of crust, not to mention the myriad recipes that I have in my recipe box, much less on the internet.  Do I want a single or double crust?  or do I want a tart using Pate Sucree?  And then there is always a cookie crust or a crumb crust.  Right off the bat I know that I will not be making a pie that calls for  a crumb crust so that is out for now….I do plan on experimenting with crumb crusts in the future (think of all the add-in possibilities to even a simple graham cracker crust!), but for now I want to stick to pastry crusts.

A little history….

As I was researching, I came across a couple of articles on the history of pie and thought you might like the basics.  Most people think of Medieval-Era England when they think about where pie started, but actually, Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians, though the first pies were made by the ancient Romans, who most likely learned it from the Greeks.  With the spread of the Roman Empire, pies made their way into Europe.  By the twelfth century, they had made it to England, where the “pyes” were made with a crust called a “coffyn”.  A coffyn was a very thick crust, which was not intended to be eaten, but to carry the filling.  The first cherry pie is credited to being made in the 1500’s either for or by Queen Elizabeth I.  Personally I can’t imagine the thought of all her ruffles actually making a pie, but who knows, maybe this maiden Queen was handy with a rolling pin.  For more on the history of Pie, there’s a lot of information at the American Pie Council (yes, pie has it’s own council!) here.

This weeks homework:

This week, I plan to start testing pie crusts, and narrowing down a recipe that works best for me.  Stay tuned for the results!