pie, meat, fish, fowl, fruit, or vegetables baked with a crust of pastry, or pastry shells filled with custard or pudding. The pies of the Romans, especially at banquets in the days of the empire, were often elaborate concoctions, such as the showpieces in which were enclosed live birds. In England meat and fish pies had become common by the 14th cent., and fruit pies, often called tarts, by the 16th cent. The mince pie was an important feature of the Christmas festivities and was called "superstitious" pie by the Puritans in protest against what seemed to them a pagan manner of celebrating a holy feast. The mincemeat filling was a finely chopped, cooked mixture including raisins, currants, apples, suet, sugar, spice, and often meat, brandy or cider, candied peel, and other ingredients. The English settlers in North America retained their taste for pie and adapted it to their new conditions, creating the pumpkin and the cranberry pies. Pie has remained a popular dessert in the United States. In Italy, pie, or pizza, consists, in its most basic form, of a spread of dough covered with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and baked in an oven.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.