12 Pie Varieties

These are various types of pies on display at a store.

A pie, in its broadest sense, is any dish encased in a pastry crust and baked in a deep, round baking dish known as a pie dish. Pies are typically filled with sweet ingredients such as fruit or custard, but they can also be savory, such as chicken pot pie.

Food has been wrapped in dough for centuries before being cooked on hot stones or in boiling water. The word “pie,” on the other hand, first appeared in literature in 1303, about the time that medieval Europeans used their abundant fuel, wheat, butter, and lard to create the pies we know today.

Because actual pans were scarce in medieval Europe, these pies were baked in “coffins” of dough that acted as baking dishes. The majority of these pies were created with thick (approximately two inches), basic crusts that were rejected by the wealthy and given to the peasantry, rather than the delicate, flaky crusts we love today. In the sixteenth century, recipes for increasingly delicate pie crusts began to develop. Meat, custard, and fruit were commonly used in early pies, which were generally filled with a combination of sweet and savory components.

Pies were brought to Northern America by English colonists, who filled them with pumpkin, sweet potato, nuts, and molasses. With the development of refrigerated and frozen pies, Americans began to improve on traditional pies over time.

There are several varieties of pies. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular ones.

1. Fruit Pie

Is there anything more traditional than a heap of fresh fruit sandwiched between two buttery crusts? This is the kind of pie you make after a day spent browsing the farmers’ market or collecting apples by the bucket load.

Fruit pies can be produced with just one crust, but they’re more commonly made with a top crust, which might be solid with vents or woven into a lattice. To avoid the fruit from becoming soupy, add a thickening like flour or cornstarch, and allow the pie to cool before slicing and serving. Peach pie, blueberry pie, cherry pie, and apple pie are all examples of fruit pies.

2. Custard Pie

Any form of uncooked custard filling combined with a partially cooked or uncooked crust and baked together is known as a custard pie. In North America, this pie is a simple combination of milk, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla essence, and occasionally nutmeg baked in a crust. It’s not the same as a cream pie, which has cooked custard put into a pre-cooked, chilled crust.

The comedic act of pieing is traditionally performed in the United Kingdom using a “custard pie.” Pumpkin pie, lemon and buttermilk chess pie, coconut cream pie, and buko pie are all popular custard pies. A true custard is a liquid that has been thickened with eggs. Custard pie is a highly rich pie due to the enormous amount of whole eggs used in it.

Clowns often employ custard pies as a humorous tactic in numerous circus performances, in harmless practical pranks, and for throwing in the faces of prominent people as a symbol of displeasure.

3. Meringue Pie

A high plume of beaten egg whites covers the filling like a fluffy, sweet cloud in these pies. A custard or curd-filled pie is commonly topped with meringue, which we make in a stand mixer and then bake short atop the pie to color.

Whipping the meringue until stiff peaks form, preventing it from weeping, and anchoring it to the crust’s edge prevents it from pulling away from the edges while broiling.

4. Galette

This pastry is a tart (it’s open-faced), but it’s also a pie in that it has a flaky crust and a fruit filling that cooks while baking. It’s easy to put together because it’s created free-form on a baking sheet (which is why we use the terms free-form tart and galette interchangeably).

The fruit in these tarts essentially roasts because the middle is open, and the liquids usually thicken without the use of a thickening.

5. Cream Pie

A cream pie, also known as a crème pie or creme pudding, is a sort of pie made with milk, sugar, cream, eggs, and wheat flour and filled with thick custard or pudding. Vanilla, lime, lemon, banana, coconut, peanut butter, and chocolate are just a few of the flavors available.

A whipped cream topping is a common characteristic of most cream pies. The custard filling is similar to crème patisserie, a popular French cake, and tart filling. It’s a one-crust pie with a crust that covers the bottom, sides, and top but not the top. For savory pies, the crust might be a regular pie crust prepared with crushed cookies or a graham cracker crust.

A prepared custard filling is used in most cream pies. The “Magic Lemon Cream Pie,” created by Borden and credited to their fictional spokesperson, Jane Ellison, is thickened instead by the room-temperature curdling of sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and lemon juice. This became Key lime pie later on.

6. Chiffon Pie

A chiffon pie has a light and airy filling and a flaky crust. The filling is generally made by folding meringue into a mixture that resembles fruit curd and has been thickened using unflavored gelatin so that it provides a light texture.

Instead of using raw whipped egg whites, a Swiss-meringue (egg whites and sugar boiled in a double boiler to 120–130 °Fahrenheit over boiling water, then whipped) is recommended to avoid the risk of salmonella. This mixture is then refrigerated before being placed in a pre-baked pie shell of varying compositions. This method can also be used to make pumpkin chiffon pie using canned pumpkin.

Using flavored gelatin mix and whipped cream substitute to make a mimic chiffon pie simplifies the process.

7. Silk Pie

A silk pie appears to be indistinguishable from a chiffon pie at first glance. However, it is not thickened with gelatin, and the texture is silky smooth. It’s rich and velvety, with a lot of chocolate (but not always). The filling is similar to mousse or a lighter pudding with whipped cream.

8. Savory Pie

Non-sweet, “salty rather than sweet” savory pies are offered as meals or snacks rather than desserts.

Chicken pot pies, Fish pies, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish pasties, cottage pie, shepherd’s pie, tourtière, and other meals fall under this category. Savory pies were — and still are — an excellent method to stretch meat that is in short supply.

The pie crust hasn’t been eaten for most of history (see separate entry on a pastry crust.) A minimum of a bottom crust is now expected — and consumed — unless the dish is something like shepherd’s pie or cottage pie, where the “crust” is mashed potato. A top crust, as well as a side crust, is a major plus for savory pie enthusiasts. It’s all about the crust for them when it comes to savory pies.

Historically, pies were mostly savory: sweet pies are the cuisine history’s innovation.

9. Mississippi Mud Pie

The Mississippi Mud pie includes a chocolate filling, chocolate sauce splashed on top, and a chocolate graham cracker crust as if that wasn’t enough chocolate. It’s frequently flavored with something else (think coffee liqueur or butterscotch). It’s a Mississippi favorite, as you might expect.

10. Ice Cream Pie

When you combine a pre-baked pie crust with a pint of cold, luscious ice cream, what do you get? Of course, there’s ice cream pie. Ice cream pie is made with softened ice cream, gelato, or sorbet that is placed inside a cooked pie crust (which can be crumb or pastry style) and then re-frozen until sliceable.

11. Hand Pie

A fork isn’t required to eat a slice of pie, as it turns out. Hand pies are just what they sound like: small pies that fit in the palm of your hand. The filling possibilities are unlimited, but because they’re encased in all that crust, they’re best suited to thickened or pre-cooked fruit fillings or savory fillings like cheese.

12. Tart

Tarts are a sophisticated type of pie. The pastry isn’t flaky like a pie crust; instead, it’s sweet and has a closed crumb, similar to shortbread. It’s baked in a short-sided fluted pan. Tart fillings are frequently creamy and rich and can be baked with the tart shell (as in a Lemon Tart), added afterward (as in a Fresh Fruit Tart), or topped with fruit (as in a French Apple Tart).

See more: What Are the Best Cherries for Pie | Ambrosial Apple Pie | Chicken Pot Pie Sliders | Rosemary Apple Pie | Pumpkin Pie

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are several varieties of pies available out there. Each pie has a unique taste, and we suggest you try each of them. You’ll love the taste of these varieties. There are different recipes you try, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

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