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The challenging part of researching these early pies is most of us rely on translators of original texts.
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.Moreover, there are several editions of ancient texts and recipe numbers/titles do not always match.Food historians confirm the ancients crafted foods approximating pie.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.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.
195) ---Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome, Patrick Faas [Palgrave Mac Millan: New York] 2003 ? Bakers who specialized in this treat were known as the episat mersi, so mersu-making was probably an involved and respected process." ---Cooking in Ancient Civilizations, Cathy K. 254) American pies "As a favored dish of the English, pies were baked in America as soon as the early settlers set up housekeeping on dry land.
Beyond mere preference, howevers, there was a practical reason for making pies, especially in the harsh and primitive conditions endured by the first colonists.
A piecrust used less flour than bread and did not require anything as complicated as a brick oven for baking.
More important, though, was how pies could stretch even the most meager provisions into sustaining a few more hungry mouths...
603) First pies Food historians confirm ancient people made pastry.