You might have noticed that many of the classics we've chosen have European origins, which is something that's inevitable. Not to disappoint you, but the beloved apple pie, born in Great Britain, is no exception. No worries, though, since we've thoroughly and wholeheartedly embraced it as our own. What's not to love? It's sweet, tart, reasonably easy to make and extremely rewarding. The recipe can be as complicated as the chef, but even the simplest method can yield intricate results by experimenting with the variety of apple. And in the United States, we have apple choices aplenty, all over the country.
Once you've mastered the basics -- the apples, filling and pastry -- why stop there? By now, it's pretty clear that a creative chef can yield to intuition. Nearly anything stirred into a legacy recipe gets reasonably tasty results. Apple pie's no exception. The top crust can be vented or latticed, or, as they do in Pennsylvania, removed in favor of crumb. The filling can be highlighted with nuts, raisins or liquor. In Vermont, a slice of pie (sweetened with a dash of maple, if you're lucky) is accompanied by a slice of sharp cheddar.
Few things have so strongly captured our national collective imagination, despite the British pedigree, so it's only fitting we turn to the Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms for an explanation of the ubiquitous catchphrase, "As American as apple pie." They say, simply, it means, "To be typically American."