It is at this junction Sheila and I part company. She loves savoury pies but the sweet version does not do it for her, whereas I love both.She does have an abiding memory  of a childhood which in the summer was overflowing with fresh strawberry pie. (more of that later)

The obvious starting point is the quintessential English Apple Pie or so we think.                 






The Dutch have a version where several spices are added, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and a crumble topping.The French Tarte Tatin is a classic and, made properly, can be a thing of beauty. The Swedish apple pie also has a type of crumble top rather then a pastry.  The Austrian apple strudel is a delicious version that is part of many holiday memories.The American’s use crab-apples! No doubt with a large amount of sugar.The list is endless. 






So what constitutes the perfect apple pie, if I was being pedantic I would say: Apples, but think about the other combination apple and blackberry, with clove and raisins, apple and mincemeat. see recipe


My Mother didn’t have a sweet tooth and loved gooseberry or rhubarb pie without any sugar added! Both served a sugarless custard…..Birds of course! Her idea being that we could add sugar if we must.

Not a soggy bottom in sight to use “The Great Britush Bake Off” parlance.

Whereas the strawberry pie of Sheila’s youth, a soggy bottom, was compulsory, Squishy, soft fresh strawberries oozing their juices, a crispy base was never going to happen. By all accounts though it was very tasty and rarely lasted longer then a day. I can actual appreciate this.

The other quintessential English Pie is of course the mince pie. Where would Christmas be with out these? Does anyone actually eat mince pies outside the month of December?   see recipe

One Christmas we decided to walk around the village, with a Red Riding Hood basket full of home made mince pies. We had prepared a translation of the origin and its ingredients.

“In English “A mince pie is a sweet pie, filled with a mixture of dried fruits and spices called mincemeat”. These are traditionally served during the Christmas season in England” 

In French.- “Une tarte à la viande hachée est une tarte sucrée, remplie d’un mélange de fruits secs et d’épices appelé viande hachée, ( minced beef!) qui est traditionnellement servi pendant la saison de Noël en Angleterre”.

The first house we visited, we offered the basket, and in our best French asked them to take one. A look of horror came over their faces and a lot of waving of arms. They thought we were offering them the whole basket!  9 or 10 houses later and after a glass of something alcoholic in each one, we arrived home with an empty basket feeling very mellow.


When I was young ready mixed/rolled pastry wasn’t available in the shops. Pastry was homemade.  I vividly remember the mince pie, lemon curd and jam tart making sessions the week before Christmas. 










I dont think we can leave talking about sweet pies without mentioning the Lemon Meringue Pie.  Sheila makes a mean version, although it has to be said not very often! Not for me the sweet gentle version so often found in bakers or supermarkets, but a sweet sharp filling. see recipe


It is always a bit of an enigma, for someone who doesn’t eat deserts, that Sheila makes a Christmas Pudding every year. see recipe

I dont want to turn this blog into a list of pies!  For me Pies, savoury or sweet bring back memories of home baking and the gorgeous baking smell generating from the kitchen. My siblings and sat in anticipation. 

Simple delights that make  food memories.

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