Pilgrimage for pies!
Sweet or savoury, pies are a tasty, comforting kind of food – and a great treat after a long day or for that special occasion. From the British pork pie to the Austrian sachertort, there is a huge variety of pies and most world cuisines have at least one to rave about. Though the name may vary, be it pie, tart, samosa, pierog or crostata, the principle remains the same – a baked pastry crust with a tasty filling.
Cultures around the world have long valued the humble pie for its qualities of both sharing at large gatherings and portability as a snack – making it a remarkably versatile foodstuff! Indeed research has shown that some of the earliest recorded instances of pies were made by the Ancient Greeks, who even in the 5th-century BCE recognised the profession of pastry-maker as distinct from a baker. And over the centuries, the range of fillings and styles has developed abundantly to make it something that you can usually find wherever there is a pastry-making tradition.
The Flexicover Team check out some favourites that you really have to try!
Pecan pie - USA (Sweet)
The popular and iconic pie in America, particularly in the Southern US, this sweet pie is delicious, crunchy and oozing with golden flavour! It’s made primarily using corn syrup or molasses and pecan nuts, filled in a crisp, buttery pastry and is a staple dish at most Thanksgiving dinners. Great served with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream and a must if you’re visiting the USA. If you’re trying it at home for Christmas, try adding chocolate or bourbon to the recipe for that extra little kick!
Pastilla – Morocco (Sweet/Savoury)
Also known as bastilla or bisteeya, this is a traditional Moorish delicacy, attributed to the Andalusi Arabs and manages to be simultaneously rich and light, sweet and savoury. The dish is made from meat (usually pigeon or chicken), spices and almonds baked in a light, crispy, full pastry shell dusted with icing sugar. The casing is ideally made of warqa (“transparent pastry”), which is a thin, delicate pastry akin to filo. It’s a dish often served at the beginning of special meals and these days there are a number of filling variations including seafood and ground meats. No trip to Morocco would be the same without trying this delicious dish, especially warming at this time of year!
Buko pie – The Philippines (Sweet)
This fabulous pie could be considered to be a variation on a coconut cream pie and is a very popular Filipino sweet. It’s also regarded as a major speciality of Los Baños in Laguna province on Luzon, the largest island in the archipelago. Made from young coconut meat (buko in Tagalog) blended into a custard with sweetened condensed milk inside a double-shortcrust case, it’s a richly indulgent pie to dig into! Although traditionally made plain, there are now variations that include local flavourings like pandan, vanilla and almond.
Meat pie – Australia (Savoury)
The renowned meat pie of Australia and New Zealand is a popular hand-sized pie, generally with ground beef and gravy and often topped with ketchup. Variations in recent times have included adding onions, cheese and mushrooms too. It’s also found resting in a pool of thick pea soup to form the dish known as a pie floater. Similar in concept to the UK’s steak pie but more culturally ubiquitous, this Aussie meat pie is popular at parties, sporting events, picnics… pretty much everywhere! In fact they love pies so much they even have the official Great Aussie Pie competition each year which promotes the much loved national icon. Open to all pie-making professionals it attracts thousands of entries from all over the country. If you are travelling down under this year, miss it at your peril!
Apple pie – The Netherlands (Sweet)
It’s fair to say that apple pie is a very popular dessert eaten the world over. And whilst many countries will have a version of the dish (after all, apples grow abundantly around the world), Dutch apple pie (or appelgebak) is famous and a source of great national pride! Sometimes made to look like a cake, it’s usually decorated with a pastry lattice. Where it stands out from other versions is that it’s bursting with flavour, primarily cinnamon and lemon juice. Almost every café in the Netherlands will have their take on appelgebak on their menu. For a really enjoyable treat, try it at the famous Winkle Café, located in the trendy Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam. You’ll definitely be taking a slice home too (provided you can resist eating it)!
Wherever you travel for a sweet or savoury treat, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.