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Modern pie, as we Americans know it today, descends from Medieval European ingredients (fat=suet, lard, butter) and technology (pie plates, freestanding pies, tiny tarts).

"The idea of enclosing meat inside a sort of pastry made from flour and oil originated in ancient Rome, but it was the northern European use of lard and butter to make a pastry shell that could be rolled out and moulded that led to the advent of true pie." ---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2002 (p.

The figs were retired from the sauce pan long before the meat was done and they were served around the ham as a garnish.] Compare with this Latin text, English translation and modern instructions: "Pernam, ubi eam cum caricis plurimis elixa veris et tribus lauri foliis, detracta cute tessellatim indicis et melle complebis.

254) "If the basic concept of 'a pie' is taken to mean a mixture of ingredients encased and cooked in pastry, then proto-pies were made in the classical world and pies certainly figured in early Arab cookery.But those were flat affairs, since olive oil was used as the fat in the pastry and will not produce upstanding pies; pastry made with olive oil is 'weak' and readily slumps." ---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2006 (p.The derivation of the word may be from magpie, shortened to pie.The explanation offered in favour or this is that the magpie collects a variety of things, and that it was an essential feature of early pies that they contained a variety of ingredients." ---The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2006 (p. Pie can be closed, open, small, large, savory or sweet.

The basic concept of pies and tarts has changed little throughout the ages.The first pies were very simple and generally of the savory (meat and cheese) kind.Flaky pastry fruit-filled turnovers appeared in the early 19th century.In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.When combined with ground grains, it produced a rudimentary type of pastry.Remove the skin and make diagonal incisions into the meat. Then make a dough of oil and flour and wrap the ham in it. "Cover the base of a pan, large enough to take the ham, with figs and lay the ham, stuffed with figs, on top. Cover, and boil the ham for 1 hour over a low heat. When the ham is cooked, dry it well and make incisions all over the flesh. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Different inventories list different ingredients for mersu, so there were many recipes. Finished product wraps dough around filling, free form, not in a pie dish.] Medieval European pies There is some controversy whether the pastry crust used in Medieval times was meant for eating or as a cooking receptacle. A careful examination of these early recipes reveals crust purpose.