Monday, January 6, 2020

National Pie Day - January 23

National Pie Day was born in 1975 in Boulder, Colorado, thanks to a school teacher named Charlie Papazian. On January 23, his birthday, he declared that this day would be forever remembered as National Pie Day. Why did he do that, you ask? Well, for one good reason: Charlie really loved pie. In fact, he loved it so much he would have a “birthday pie” instead of a birthday cake. Since then, his idea for a National Pie Day has spread all over the United States.
Enjoy a slice of your favorite pie or try this staple of any Southern gathering: Crunchy Peanut Pie
Virginia Handcooked Peanuts
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped Virginia Handcooked peanuts
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Next in a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Now add the sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla. Continue to beat until thoroughly blended. Now stir in the peanuts. Place the pie shell on a cookie sheet, pour in the filling, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool in the refrigerator and serve!

Pie can trace its roots all the way back to the Greeks. The Greeks created what is believed to be the first pastry shell by mixing together water and flour. They would then fill these pastries with a variety of different things – everything from honey to fruits to meats. The Romans adopted these pies and began to improvise with them by filling them with a variety of fruits and nuts, meats, fish, and even mussels.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the Ancient Greek and Roman dishes evolved into a more modern version of a pie. These dishes were called pyes and they were usually filled with meats. These meats could be filled with either beef or lamb, wild duck or even pigeons and vegetables. The whole dish was then spiced liberally and was baked in an oven. Encasing the meat and vegetables in a pie kept them from drying out during the cooking process. It also made it easier to transport and preserve the dish as well.
Of course, while the pies of the Middle Ages were closer to modern pies than what the Greeks and Romans offered, they would still probably be unrecognizable to most Americans or Europeans today. That’s because these early pies were covered in a ton of dough. This kept the food inside from drying out and preserved the food once it was done, but it made the pie crust just about inedible. No one would eat the dough of the pie, it was pretty hard so they just ate the fillings. Another interesting thing about these early pies is that sometimes the crust would be reused for another dish. Yes, that’s right, Medieval crusts were that tough.
During the 17th century, the pilgrims made quite a few pies – namely pumpkin and pecan. Like their Medieval fore bearers, they did so to preserve their food. As the colonists began to spread across the American continent, they took the idea of pie with them. This led to many new pies being created as the colonists used the natural resources around them. From about the 18th to the 21st centuries, there would be an explosion in the number of pies made in the United States and around the world.