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Cooking methods (baked or fried in ancient hearths, portable colonial/pioneer Dutch ovens, modern ovens), pastry composition (flat bread, flour/fat/water crusts, puff paste, milles feuilles), and cultural preference (pita, pizza, quiche, shepherd's, lemon meringue, classic apple, chocolate pudding).
All figure prominently into the complicated history of this particular genre of food.
No one, least of all the early settlers, would probably proclaim their early pies as masterpieces of culinary delight.
The crusts were often heavy, composed of some form of rough flour mixed with suet." ---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F.
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.
Deinde farinam oleo subactam contexes et ei corium reddis et cum farina cocta fuerit, eximas furno ut est et inferes." Boil the ham with a large number of dried figs and 3 bay leaves. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6, and bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden. 268) "Pastry dough: Roman pastry dough was made with lard or olive oil rather than butter. Spelt flour needs rather less fat than wheat flour.
In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.
The basic concept of pies and tarts has changed little throughout the ages.
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.
Take it out of the oven when the dough is cooked and serve. Pour in a little salted water and press the crumbs into a ball. Then roll it into a sheet on a marble surface dusted with flour, and use as the recipe requires." (p. mersu always seemed to contain first-quality dates and butter; beyond that, different records list pistachios, garlic, onion seed, and other seemingly incongruous ingredients. "Originally pies contained various assortments of meat and fish, and fruit pies do not appear until the late sixteenth century..could be open as well as having a crust on top." ---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2002 (p.
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.
603) First pies Food historians confirm ancient people made pastry.