Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Apple #294: National Pie Day

You may not know this, but the 23rd is National Pie Day.

To celebrate appropriately, the American Pie Council, which created National Pie Day, encourages us to "pass on the love and enjoyment of pie eating and pie making" by "giving the gift of a pie to a friend or neighbor."

But I see absolutely nothing wrong with giving the gift of a pie to oneself.

Another suggestion: "Eat pie."

In most pictures of apple pies, they're all nicely put together and everything, but they also look too dry. I think a slice of apple pie ought to look like this: gooey and warm and moist and delicious.
(Pie baked by Tom Moertel, recipe by Sherry Yard)

  • The average American eats six slices of pie per year (that's what's wrong with this country: we're not getting enough pie!)
  • The first pies were mostly meat pies. (but we have all learned by now that those are not the best pies!)
  • Before pies became relegated to dessert, people in the 19th century ate fruit pies as part of breakfast (I say they had the right idea)

True Key Lime pie uses the juice of Florida Key limes and is not green but yellow. I was once informed by a pie-maker in Key West that limes from elsewhere are more acidic.
(Photo by Mrs. Presley, recipe by Martha Stewart)

  • The term "upper crust" actually refers to pie-making. In early America, when people couldn't afford a lot of flour or supplies, they often couldn't afford to make a top crust for their pies. In fact, the top crust usually wasn't eaten but was put on to hold the filling while baking and then removed later. Therefore, the people who made their pies with a top crust clearly had more funds at the ready. So the wealthy people were conflated with their pies and were called "the upper crust." (I'm very glad we are not so class-biased anymore and that we are all free to eat our pies with or without upper crusts)
  • For those of you who will celebrate National Pie Day by making your own, here are a few pie-making tips:
      • Adding a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice is said to guarantee a flaky crust.
      • Or instead of water, substitute very cold sour cream or whipping cream. The crust gets flakier, but these ingredients will also increase the fat.
      • Chilled dough will be much easier to roll out and lay into the pie tin.

This photo and Marie Smith's recipe for lemon meringue pie posted at bigoven.com

      • When making a meringue pie, to keep the meringue from weeping (little dots of moisture forming on top), turn off the oven when the baking time has elapsed, but leave the meringue in the oven until it cools.
      • To get your meringue peaks even peakier, while beating, add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar for every 3 egg whites.
      • When making a cream pie, dust the crust with granulated sugar before adding the filling. This will keep the crust from getting soggy.
      • If you've made a pie with a graham cracker crust, dip the pan in warm water for about 10 seconds, and it will be much easier to remove or to dish it up.
      • If you have some extra crust left over, you can use a little tin or muffin dish and make a small pie for the smallest person in your family (like my mom used to do)
  • Americans believe that chocolate pie is the most romantic pie. (maybe so, but it's not the BEST pie)

This is a chocolate cream pie, from--believe it or not--Cooking Light.

  • According to one survey, Americans' favorite pies are, in order:
      • Apple
      • Pumpkin or sweet potato
      • Chocolate
      • Lemon meringue
      • Cherry

Cherry pie with a lattice crust. I don't know why but most people seem to think cherry pies in particular ought to have a lattice crust like this one. I'm not particular. I'll eat it either way.
(Photo from Chow.com)

Americans say they like pumpkin pie better than cherry? Really? Well, I'm not one of those Americans, I guess. I always give the pumpkin pie a try, but I get my fill after about four bites or so.
(Photo with recipe from Simple Daily Recipes)

  • I would like to add to this list some very important pies that should not be overlooked:
      • Peach
      • Blueberry
      • Key Lime
      • Strawberry
      • Strawberry rhubarb

Peach pie might be my favorite. Especially when it's all warm and juicy and peachy and yum. Although I think I might actually have eight favorites. Or nine.
(Photo and recipe by Argo Corn Starch)

What is YOUR favorite pie?

(see also I Like Pie)

American Pie Council, National Pie Day
"Doing your part for National Pie Day,"
Sacramento Bee, January 16, 2008
"Get ready for National Pie Day,"
South Jersey CourierPost Online, January 2, 2008
Crisco, Fun Pie Facts
Food Reference, Trivia, Pie
Belly Bytes, Food Facts, Cake, Pie and Cookie Food Facts


  1. My faves:

    Key Lime
    Coconut Cream

  2. I'm assuming that's in order, starting with your most favorite?

    I've never had shoofly pie, or coconut cream for that matter.

    I read that it's called shoofly pie because it's made mainly with molasses and was often left to cool on the windowsill so people had to shoo the flies away. But here's another explanation: http://www.amishnews.com/amisharticles/shooflypie.htm

  3. Peach.
    All other pies pale.

  4. We had a mincemeat pie last Thanksgiving (2006). It was so disgusting.

  5. Strawberry Rhubarb pie is an abomination. A proper (i.e. as intended by God) rhubarb pie is rhubarb only, and though it can be sweetened, it should still be sour enough to give you a little whiskey-face.

  6. fork stealer, I love rhubarb. In a pie or otherwise. And it definitley should be sour-ish!!!!

  7. fork stealer & jarred, you can both have all the super-tart plain rhubarb pie, and I'll take all the abominably good strawberry rhubarb.

    And by the way, if your whiskey tastes that sour, maybe it's time to consider an upgrade?


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