Culinary Corner

Jessica Peyton

As the snow melts away, the sun
peeks from behind the gray clouds,
the flowers poke out from the ground,
the singing swallow chirps its song
from its resting spot on your shoulder
and the woodland creatures flock to
sing along, the appearance of spring
is the perfect time to reflect on all the
good things in life; and what’s better
in life than pie? Pie just screams
spring time: it shares the circularness
of the sun and the circle of life.
In celebration of the coming
warmth and March 14, let’s examine
the great and noble pie. How did
pie come to be what it is today? According
to, pie traces
its origins back to the ancient Egyptians
where it was passed to Greece,
Rome and England. Early pies (pyes)
in England were usually meat ones
made with a crust called a coffin. The
coffin wasn’t usually digested, but
used as a vessel for holding the pie
The pie crust has evolved to be the
defining element of a prime pie. A
proper pie crust should be flaky and
golden brown. The ratio of ingredients
is represented by the term ‘3-2-
1 pie dough,’ because it consists of a
dough made of 3 parts flour, 2 parts
fat and 1 part water. The trouble with
making a pie usually lies in baking
the crust, whether it ends up as dry
and tough or has a soggy bottom (ew
soggy bottoms are the woooooorst).
So to avoid all of the years of trauma
and subsequent therapy due to
your pie crust not turning out, a few
steps can be taken. The most important
step is whatever sort of fat you
choose to make your pie crust, butter
or shortening (yours truly is partial
to butter because shortening is weird
looking), it needs to be ICE COLD
(just like when you make biscuits).
When the crust is baked, all the cold
pieces of butter will melt, leaving behind
pockets in the flour which rise
with the steam produced, and thus,
flakiness is born.
Don’t forget to think outside the
box now, a pie crust does not
necessarily need to be
made out of flour, butter and water —
shepherd’s pie utilizes mashed potatoes
for a crust and crumbles or crisps
make due with a delightful topping
of flour, butter and sugar that stays
crunchy while still soaking up all the
berry juice below.
Pie is not solely meant for sweet
fillings: savory meat pies are a common
meal in England, New Zealand
and Australia. The meat pies in New
Zealand are hand sized and are reminiscent
of a pot pie. (Side note: for
an extremely delicious version of a
New Zealand pie, go to Proper Pie in
Church Hill. Their pies are the bomb.
com) Pasties (pronounced like past-y,
not paste-y) are a British hand pie.
Pasties look like giant empanadas and
are generally filled with beef, potatoes,
turnips and onions. Almost any
type of stew can be turned into a pie
filling: beef, pork, short ribs, cocka-
leekie (which is Scottish chicken
soup made with leeks and,
well, chicken). Don’t forget the classic
chicken pot pie, or all the possibilities
of vegetable pie.
Lesbehonestthough, pie is most
widely adored when in its sweet
form. And understandably so — the
possibilities for a sweet pie filling
are vast. Custard pies range from
chocolate pudding, pumpkin, lemon
meringue, coconut cream and the
best one, banoffee. What is banoffee
Banoffee is a British pie made
from bananas, cream and toffee on
a biscuit crust which is then topped
with whipped cream. Say what you
will about English cooking, but they
know how to make a pie.
As you sit down in the sunshine
with your pie, reflect on its many
uses; you can eat it and reflect on its
mathematical counterpart, the meaning
of life, the endwwless possibilities
it offers, or partake in the old tradition
of pie throwing. Whichever you
choose, you can be sure to have a
very merry Pi(e) day.


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