Sparkling ruby red berries peeking out of a golden yellow basket, Cherry Pies are aesthetically as pleasing to the eye as they are to the tastebuds. The buttery biscuit shell serves as the perfect carrier for the tart cherry filling that has been sweetened with sugar.
The dish is so significant in popular culture that there is a date ascribed to celebrating this baked dessert. On 20th February every year, National Cherry Pie Day is observed both in the US and the UK, by baking a Cherry Pie. This special dish has an even special story of genesis. According to several accounts from the period, the Cherry Pie may have first been made for and served to Queen Elizabeth I. Soon enough, the erstwhile American favourite became a staple at all English festivals and special occasions.
Yet, the first kind of pie was not meant to be a dessert. Tracing the birth of pies leads you straight to ancient Greece and Egypt during the 2nd century BC. At the time, the filling was made with meat and the shell was meant to conserve the meat from getting dry.
Even in Britain during the 11th century, pies were savoury and the pie cases functioned as casseroles. For long and perilous journeys on sea, it made more sense to mince the meat and carry it in a vessel meant to keep the food fresh for long. It also effectively eliminated the need to rope in cooks for such voyages. But by the 13th century, pies became a gourmet dish worthy of presenting to kings. Popular legend says that cooks would compete with each other to come up with the most delicious fillings that would only be revealed to the king at the dining table by lifting the pie lid.
Cherry Pies are now synonymous with both American and British cuisines. In fact, Cherry Pies are the second-most consumed pie in the US after the famous Apple Pie.