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."
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- Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. (May 4, 2010)http://dictionaries.cambridge.org/define.asp?dict=I&key=american*1+0
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- Fabricant, Florence. "So Naughty, So Nice." The New York Times. Feb. 14, 2007. (April 26, 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/14/dining/14velv.html?_r=1
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- Maynard, Micheline. "Whoopie! Cookie, Pie, or Cake, It's Having Its Moment." The New York Times. March 17, 2009. (April 26, 2010)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/dining/18whoop.html?_r=1
- Mikkelson, Barbara. "Neiman-Marcus Cookie." Snopes. June 24, 2009. (May 5, 2010)http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/cookie.asp
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- Nathan, Joan. "A short history of the bagel." Slate. Nov. 12, 2008. (April 27, 2010)http://www.slate.com/id/2204140/pagenum/all/#p2
- Nestle.com. "The Story of Nestle Toll House." (April 26, 2010)http://www.verybestbaking.com/products/toll-house/nestle-toll-house-story.aspx
- North American Blueberry Council. "The North American Blueberry Council Newsletter." Summer/Fall 2000. (April 27, 2010)http://www.blueberry.org/publications/muffins.pdf
- Olver, Lynne. "The Food Timeline." (April 27, 2010)http://www.foodtimeline.org/index.html
- Saveur. "Apple Pie." (May 4, 2010)http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/Putting-on-the-Ritz
- Shea, Bill. "Bye Bye, Miss American Pie." Advertising Age. April 23, 2010. (May 5, 2010)http://adage.com/article?article_id=143489
- Shindler, Merrill. "American Dish: 100 Recipes from Ten Delicious Decades." Angel Press. 1996.
- Stradley, Linda. "History of Cookies." What's Cooking America. 2004. (April 27, 2010)http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CookieHistory.htm
- Wisconsin Bakers Association. (May 1, 2010)http://www.wibakers.com/WBA/WisconsinStateFair_files/WisconsinStateFair.htm
- Wisconsin.gov. "More cream puffs, more places at the 2009 Wisconsin State Fair." June 8, 2009. (April 26, 2010)http://www.wistatefair.com/pdfs/09_fair/homepage/WBA_CREAM_PUFFS_NAMING_RIGHTS.pdf
It's a pie. Filled with squash. Who in the world decided that was a good idea? HowStuffWorks slices and dices the history of the pumpkin pie.