Pies are now part of our national identity with no other take away food coming close to them. They evoke memories of our childhood, early morning footy matches, family road trips and good times with great mates. Yes, unassuming, humble and simple they may seem, but there’s a much richer history to this perfectly packaged New Zealand culinary icon than meets the eye.
The humble pie was first made by the Romans, they used to cook the filling and seal it in a clay shell which could be reheated and eaten on their travels. A little later they introduced a paste layer made from maize which covered the food. This paste layer is the origin of the word pastry. Fruit pies did not appear until the early 16th century, when King Henry was served the first cherry pie.
Many years later, Welsh miners introduced the famous double crust Cornish Pasty. This was made from meat, potato and vegetable fillings, surrounded by puff pastry with a dough rim on one side. As cleaning coal from the miners hands was a time consuming and often difficult exercise, they held the rim while eating the pasty and then discarded it.
Pies arrived in New Zealand and proved popular with the early settlers and Māori alike, the Pioneers of this great country we call home. The pie became popular with both cultures for being hearty, simple, and yet tasty and able to be eaten at anytime providing a good meal on the go.
New Zealand is now home to many different cultures from across the globe, who all have aroha for this great land we call home and a love affair with the humble pie.
Fast forward to 2020, and we now consume 65 million of them annually. Pies are literally everywhere, bakeries, dairies, gas stations, sports and social clubs, school tuck shops, super markets and cafés; pies are more widely sold than bread and milk…“Yet why are good ones so few and far between?”- and why is it one of our national dishes is not made with the very best ingredients using some of the best farms in the world we have right on our door step? Surely this food of Kings and a celebrated Kiwi icon deserves better; then came Pioneer Pie Co…..