The Surprising Origins of Apple Pie

Apple pie is often considered as American as, well, apple pie. However, this beloved dessert isn’t American at all. In fact, the origins of apple pie can be traced back to Europe, long before the establishment of the United States.

The Surprising Origins of Apple Pie
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The European Roots of Apple Pie

The concept of a fruit pie is believed to have originated in Europe. The first recorded recipe for apple pie was written in England in 1381 and included apples, figs, raisins, pears, and a pastry shell (but no sugar).

The Dutch also have a strong tradition of apple pies, with recipes dating back to the late 15th century. Their version of apple pie, or ‘appeltaart,’ often includes a lattice top and is typically served with a dollop of whipped cream.

The Journey to America

Apple pie was brought to the American colonies by British, Dutch, and Swedish settlers. However, at first, they had to make do without apples, which are not native to North America. Instead, they used fruits like berries and plums to make their pies.

It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th centuries, with the arrival of apple seeds and the cultivation of apple orchards, that apple pie started to resemble the dessert we know today. Even then, apple pie didn’t become popular in America until the 19th century.

The Symbol of America

So how did apple pie become so closely associated with America? It seems to be a combination of nostalgia for the rural past and clever marketing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. The phrase “as American as apple pie” was popularized during World War II, when soldiers would say they were fighting “for mom and apple pie.”

Despite its foreign origins, apple pie has undeniably become a quintessential American dessert. However, it’s always interesting to remember that this classic dish has a rich and global history.

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