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Apple pies, or tarts, have shown up, in one form or another, since the Middle Ages.

In the 14th century, pies were very different from today's pie. They didn't contain sugar (even for the seriously health conscious that’s a big difference) and you were generally not meant to eat the pastry. The pastry (often called a coffin) was intended as a container only. Even though sugar was available at the time, it was very scarce and extremely expensive.

We know this is all about the apple pie but some of our customers may not remember what happened during WWII (you may not have even been born yet). Our grandparents were bakers during the war and because of rationing, they had to make cakes taste great without real butter and sugar. Imagine that. Like so many people do when faced with a challenge, they just got more creative! (That passion for quality and baking for the community inspired our parents and then us to get into the business.)

So, back to the apple pies, one of the earliest apple pie recipes came from a cookbook originally compiled around 1390 A.D. by the master cooks of King Richard II, presented afterwards to Queen Elizabeth by Edward Lord Stafford. According to historians, this is one of the first records of the modern apple pie:

For To Make Tartys in Applis: Tak gode Applys and gode Spryeis and Figys and reyfons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed co-lourd wyth Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well.

When we get to the early 17th century, English colonists arrived in North America to find only crab apples. Crab apple trees are the only apples native to the United States. European settlers arrived and brought with them their English customs, including their apple pie recipes. Decades later, we see that apple pudding and Marlborough pudding were very similar to apple pie – they were also baked in a pastry crust. The only difference seems to be the addition of eggs, as both types were baked in a pastry-lined pan covered with pastry (either a solid lid or a lattice-type lid).

Well, you know your dessert has hit the big time when it makes it into popular culture. In 1713, the poem called Apple Pye, by English poet William King (1663-1712), appeared in the pamphlet called The Northern Atlantis (York Spy):

Of all the delicates which Britons try
To please the palate of delight the eye,

Of all the sev'ral kings of sumptuous far,

There is none that can with applepie compare.

In 1759, the Swedish parson, Dr. Israel Acrelius, author of ‘A History of New Sweden’ or ‘The Settlements On The River Delaware’ (an extensive history of the Swedish congregations of New Sweden), writing home to Sweden with an account of the settlement of Delaware, said:

‘Apple pie is used throughout the whole year, and when fresh apples are no longer to be had, dried ones are used. It is the evening meal of children. House pie, in country places, is made of apples neither peeled nor freed from their cores, and its crust is not broken if a wagon wheel goes over it.’

Fast-forward to 2011 and you’ll find Puckles serving homestyle apple pies, with just enough sugar to make them seriously delicious and leave you feeling very good about life.

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