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In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.When combined with ground grains, it produced a rudimentary type of pastry.Remove the skin and make diagonal incisions into the meat. Then make a dough of oil and flour and wrap the ham in it. "Cover the base of a pan, large enough to take the ham, with figs and lay the ham, stuffed with figs, on top. Cover, and boil the ham for 1 hour over a low heat. When the ham is cooked, dry it well and make incisions all over the flesh. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Different inventories list different ingredients for mersu, so there were many recipes. Finished product wraps dough around filling, free form, not in a pie dish.] Medieval European pies There is some controversy whether the pastry crust used in Medieval times was meant for eating or as a cooking receptacle. A careful examination of these early recipes reveals crust purpose.Take it out of the oven when the dough is cooked and serve. Pour in a little salted water and press the crumbs into a ball. Then roll it into a sheet on a marble surface dusted with flour, and use as the recipe requires." (p. mersu always seemed to contain first-quality dates and butter; beyond that, different records list pistachios, garlic, onion seed, and other seemingly incongruous ingredients. "Originally pies contained various assortments of meat and fish, and fruit pies do not appear until the late sixteenth century..could be open as well as having a crust on top." ---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2002 (p.Some pie-type foods are made for individual consumption. pasties, turnovers, empanadas, pierogi, calzones..enjoyed by working classes and sold by street vendors.Pie variations (cobblers, slumps, grunts, etc.) are endless! " The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first use of the word "pie" as it relates to food to 1303, noting the word was well-known and popular by 1362. " "Pie...a word whose meaning has evolved in the course of many centuries and which varies to some extent according to the country or even to region....Modern pie, as we Americans know it today, descends from Medieval European ingredients (fat=suet, lard, butter) and technology (pie plates, freestanding pies, tiny tarts)."The idea of enclosing meat inside a sort of pastry made from flour and oil originated in ancient Rome, but it was the northern European use of lard and butter to make a pastry shell that could be rolled out and moulded that led to the advent of true pie." ---An A-Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2002 (p.
These can vary according to scholarly proficiency and educated interpretation.A piecrust used less flour than bread and did not require anything as complicated as a brick oven for baking.More important, though, was how pies could stretch even the most meager provisions into sustaining a few more hungry mouths...254) "If the basic concept of 'a pie' is taken to mean a mixture of ingredients encased and cooked in pastry, then proto-pies were made in the classical world and pies certainly figured in early Arab cookery.But those were flat affairs, since olive oil was used as the fat in the pastry and will not produce upstanding pies; pastry made with olive oil is 'weak' and readily slumps." ---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2006 (p.
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603) Ancient Roman recipes " [Baked picnic] Ham [Pork Shoulder, fresh or cured] Pernam The hams should be braised with a good number of figs and some three laurel leaves; the skin is then pulled off and cut into square pieces; these are macerated with honey.  Lay the dough over or around the ham, stud the top with the pieces of the skin so that they will be baked with the dough [bake slowly] and when done, retire from the oven and serve.