Apple Pie Isn’t Actually American…

You may have heard the phrase, “As American as apple pie.” This phrase is often used to describe indisputably “American” things such as football, pickup trucks, barbecues, and Uncle Sam. But as popular as the delicious dessert may be, apple pie was invented and popularized before American was even born.

First off, apples are not even American themselves. In fact, colonists found only crab apple trees in North America, which are much more sour and tart than actual apples. Seeds of the sweet and juicy apples we are familiar today were spread throughout the New World by the influx of American colonists traveling across the Atlantic from England. The Romans are believed to have introduced apples to England, though. The first recorded apple pie recipe was written in England in 1381, and it included raisins, pears, figs, and saffron in addition to apples. These early apple pie recipes were much different than what we know of today. The past desserts were not even real desserts — they did not include sugar! Even the pastry that the apple pie sits in back then was used only as a container for the filling rather than actual consumption.

The most similar apple pies that resemble today’s are the Dutch apple pies that have also been around for centuries, with some recipes found as early as 1514 in a Dutch cookbook. A variety of other recipes appeared in French, Italian, and German recipe collections dating back to before the American colonies were settled.

Now as the world’s second leading producer in apples, apple pie has become ubiquitous in American culture. It is interesting to see that something as archetypical as apple pie is not truly American.