Grab a fork and a napkin, because Apple Pie day is coming this May 13. Talk about a holiday you can really sink your teeth into!
Apple pie has been around since the Middle Ages. A Dutch cookbook dated 1514 lists a recipe for Appeltaerten. It called for a standard pie crust, slices of soft seedless apples, and a few tasty spices—specifically cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, mace, and sugar—all cooked up in a traditional Dutch oven. The English also had their version of apple pie, which dates back to the time of Chaucer. The English version also suggests adding figs, raisins, and pears to the apple-and-spice mixture. In Sweden, apple crumble was the gold-standard. Traditional Swedish apple crumble requires breadcrumbs or rolled oats instead of pastry, and is served up with custard or ice cream. In France, apple pie is served upside-down as a tarte tatin.
The French also caramelized their apples, an innovation which added a whole new dynamic to the flavor. They were also the ones who decided to add cheese to their pies, which actually makes for a surprisingly delicious treat. In the 17th century, apple pie was finally brought to the American colonies. Over time, apple trees (which were not native to the Americas) began to grow, which made baking much easier. Now, apple pie has become an indelible part of the American identity, to the extent that apple pie is considered one of the most American things in the world.