Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and so we commence the two-month long season of feasting. The turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and bottomless gravy boat are most delightful, of course, but throughout the holiday gatherings of friends and family for these overly indulgent meals, MY eye is always on the pie! So in celebration of pie season I present to you the following European countries‚Äô top pie picks.
The Empanada Gallega has been traced back to the Middle Ages. Pilgrims en route to the holy site in Santiago de Compestela, Spain would pack this convenient portable meal on this long journey on foot. In modern day Galicia, Spain, the empanada traditionally has a filling of beef, pork, fish or chorizo, although it can contain fruit. Generally the sauce has a base of tomato, garlic and onion. It is baked in the form of a large thin pie with dough enveloping both the top and bottom sides.
The origins of lemon pie, tarte au citron, aren‚Äôt certain, but Menton, France would be my choice destination to sample this tangy treat. Each year a lemon festival is held to celebrate the city‚Äôs citrus heritage. Large floats are created with lemons and oranges. They are then fancifully displayed down Promenade du Soleil painting the street in a sea of yellow and orange merriment. It should be no surprise that the tarte au citron is embraced by the people of this city. The lemon pie can be found in patisseries throughout Menton.
Appelgebak is as Dutch as apple pie. The US may claim the apple pie as a piece of Americana heritage, but the Dutch certainly know how to make one mean apple pie! They have recipes dating back to the 17th century for this pleasing pastry. It differs from the traditional American apple pie in that lemon juice is a common Dutch ingredient, and the crust tends to be on the thicker side. Cinnamon and sugar are added to the sliced apple filling, and on top, strips of crust are laid to create a lattice design
I‚Äôve saved my favorite confection for the final slice of this pie themed blog. In the US, we may be more familiar with the term cheesecake. The translation from Italian to English for crostata di ricotta is ricotta tart. This rich, creamy piece of heaven can be traced back to 15th century Rome. I am especially partial to this dessert; just one bite, and I am brought fond childhood memories the countless cheesecakes my Sicilian grandfather used to bake for special occasions and holidays.
Pie is pie is pie?
According to Wikipedia, pie is a baked pastry encased dish which may contain a sweet or savory filling. As any art form, this baked good medium has many exceptions where the so-called pie rules are broken, and thank goodness for that!
The ultimate pie tasting experience would be a pie-a-thon. Yeah, I just made this up, but think about it. How delectable would it be to hop on a flight to Barcelona, Spain or Paris, France and then work your way throughout Europe in search of the perfect pie(s)? Is anyone willing to sponsor me for this event in the name of overindulgence?
(Disclaimer: the pie-a-thon does not really exist, and I am not seriously asking for sponsorship for this.)