In South Africa, we sure do love a delicious pie. Whether it is one filled with pepper steak or creamy spinach and feta, the pie is a firm favourite across the board. However, have you ever stopped to consider where the pie originated e.g. how this delicious meal came to be, well, so delicious?
In this month’s article, we dedicate our content to the history of the pie, and the individuals who helped make the pie we know and love today.
Here, the story begins.
Over two millennia ago, some 2000 BC, Ancient Egyptians created something similar to what would later become known as the pie. The dish was made of a dense crust-like casing and included a honey filling.
1500 or so years later in Ancient Greece, the notion of pastry became popular and is regarded as a period in history that brought about the first ever pastry chefs.
Ancient Romans are recorded to have been the first to use the pie recipe to keep meat and its juices. The pastry was not eaten but rather used as a case for whatever type of meat it enclosed. As Romans dominated many parts of the world during this time, and were known for their innovation, the method of creating the pie soon travelled across Europe.
Over the past few hundred years, the pie as we know it today, slowly began to take shape. Known as the “pye” in the 1300s and 1400s, many people created these dishes to keep their meat fresh and edible for longer periods. The pastry, often called the “coffin” was quite hard and served more of a practical use than it added to the taste of a dish. However, the Elizabethan era is known to have changed the pie forever, as it became a very popular and prominent dish at banquets and gatherings around the United Kingdom, with much better tastes and fillings.
As many people traveled to the new world from Britain a few centuries ago, they took with them, their traditions. What is interesting about the pie during this massive migration is that people in the US moved away from savoury fillings to more sweet tastes e.g. apple, cherry and pumpkin. The US is still well-known for its sweet and delicious pies today.
While pies could be found in the homes and bakeries of South Africa for many years, in 1990 a master baker had the vision to create a bakery that served the most delicious and fresh pies. He opened the first King Pie bakery in Silverton, Pretoria, a special space designed for the pie lovers, and that is how our pie story began.
So, there you have it, the history of the pie we have come to love and know today. We bet this has made you hungry for your favourite King Pie flavour, we’re hungry too. Be sure to pop into your nearest King Pie store for the yummy tastes of South Africa’s most loved pie.