This Dessert Will Be the Apple of Your Eye: Caramel Apple Pie
Apple pie has always been considered an American tradition and time after time, the country’s favorite pie. While apple pie is considered a year-round treat, this holiday season, add a little something special: some ooey gooey caramel!
While the saying goes, “As American as apple pie”, apple pie isn’t an American invention at all! When European settlers arrived in North America, there were only crab apple trees growing on the land—and if you’ve ever tried to eat a crab apple, you know they wouldn’t be very nice in pies. The Romans are thought to have introduced apples to Europe; by the time apples arrived in the Americas, cooking with apples was nothing new. In fact, the first recorded recipe for apple pie was written in 1381 in England. Early apple pie recipes were a lot different from what we have today, as they rarely called for sugar, because sugar was too expensive and rarely available to the masses at the time.
In the New World, pies were flourishing. In addition to pies being a delicious treat, settlers also had practical reasons for making them. Pies used less flour than bread and could be easily and cheaply baked. They also provided a sustainable food source that could be rationed out to hungry immigrants. Pie continued to sustain early settlers as they expanded to the west. Once pioneers found land to claim as their own, their pies began to reflect the regional differences of the areas where they settled. Pumpkin pies and pies sweetened with maple syrup were enjoyed in northern states. “Chess pie” was popular in the South—a silky pie with a rich filling of sugar, buttermilk, and egg. Settlers in Florida, utilizing the local citrus, turned native limes into key lime pie. The Midwest, famous for its dairy farms, favored cheese and cream pies. But apple was the most plentiful fruit of all, and in almost every part of the country, (especially the Midwest and the Northeast), apple were backed into their pies.
However, during the mid-1800’s, the pie craze in America cooled off. Early concerns for nutrition and women joining the work force contributed to the decline. But pies never disappeared completely, and after World War II they rebounded. Modern food advances and technology made pie making easier with the advent of ready-made crusts and box mixes.
But how did apple pie cement itself as “American”? One theory is that US soldiers during World War II popularized the stereotype. When asked by journalists why they were going to war, many would respond, “For mom and apple pie” which later gave rise to the saying “As American as apple pie”. Apple pie became synonymous with patriotism and has been American’s favorite ever since.
So mix up your apple pie routine this holiday season and add some rich, sweet caramel; trust us, your friends, family and your country will thank you for it!
To whip up your own caramel apple pie, try out this recipe!
Find a Caramel Apple Pie at one of these WBA member bakeries:
More Christmas dessert ideas:
First Day of Christmas: Yule Log
Second Day of Christmas: Gingerbread House
Third Day of Christmas: Classic Sugar Cookies
Fourth Day of Christmas: Peppermint Bark
Fifth Day of Christmas: Cinnamon Rolls
Sixth Day of Christmas: French Macarons
Seventh Day of Christmas: Decadent Cheesecake
Eighth Day of Christmas: Fruitcake