I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer diversity of pies around the globe. From the hearty shepherd’s pie of England to the sweet apple pie of America, these pastry-encased delights are as varied as the cultures they hail from.

In this journey, we’ll savour the flavours of traditional pies, each telling a unique story of its origin. We’ll explore how these pastries have evolved, embodying the spirit of the places they represent. So, buckle up your taste buds for an enticing global pie expedition.

Exploring the World of Pies

Let’s embark on an incredibly indulgent, flavour-packed journey through the versatile world of pies. From rustic savoury favourites to sweet tooth-satisfying delights, captivating tales underlie each crust and filling around the globe.

Traditional Pies in Europe

First stop, Europe, a true paradise for pie enthusiasts. Established in the much-loved culinary traditions of this continent, you’ll find pies that bring comfort, joy, and a beautiful interplay of flavours.

Take, for example, the British steak and kidney pie, a lush, meaty concoction veiled beneath a tender, flaky crust. Next, there’s Italy’s famous Easter Pie, or “Pizza Rustica,” a delectable potluck of cheeses and cured meats ensconced within the pie’s enviable crust.

Venture to Spain and savour a slice of empanada Gallega – a sublime pie filled with tuna, bell peppers, and onion. Round off this European journey in Russia with the “Kurnik” – a festive, multi-layered chicken pie traditionally served at weddings.

Pies from the Americas

Journeying to the Americas, I encounter myriad pie innovations, each with distinctive flavours and histories. The region’s pies showcase a medley of indigenous ingredients and cooking techniques.

The iconic American apple pie, with its cinnamon-spiced apples ensnared in a delicate, buttery pastry, stands as a testament to the country’s love for this dessert. Meanwhile, Canada stuns with their “Tourtière,” a hearty meat pie hailing from Quebec, traditionally savoured during Christmas.

In down South, Argentina’s “Empanadas” captivate taste buds with the biting flavours of ground beef, onions, and boiled eggs, all compactly wrapped in a semi-circular casing.

Asian Pie Variations

In Asia, I unearth a wealth of pies that represent the continent’s diverse cultures and cuisines. Steamed, fried or baked, these pies bear unique characteristics rooted in regional practices.

Consider China’s “Xian Bing,” a pan-fried meat pie boasting a soul-satisfyingly juicy filling. On the Indian subcontinent, “Samosas,” switched up the pie game with their distinctive pyramidal shape, stuffed with savory potatoes and green peas. Japan adds a delightful twist with their “Karē Pan,” where an aromatic curry filling meets yeast-based dough.

Pies from Down Under

Lastly, let’s fly ‘Down Under’ to Australia and New Zealand. These nations parade their pie heritage with paramount pride, evident in their creation of pies that are lofty in taste yet grounded in tradition.

Australia’s beloved “Meat Pie,” a hand-held wonder filled with minced meat and gravy, stands as the nation’s culinary icon. Cross over to New Zealand, and you’ll find a similar love for the classic “Mince and Cheese” pie, a comfort food deeply ingrained in Kiwi culture.

Indeed, these global pies unite individuals, communities, and countries. They’re not just baked goods; they’re enticing pieces of edible history that continue to shape and enrich the world’s culinary landscape. So, let’s continue exploring this deliciously fascinating world of pies.

The Art of Making Pies

Preserving the essence and flavour of pies from around the globe hinges on mastering the art of pie-making. Though every country personalises its pie fillings, a few standard principles guide the process – choosing the right ingredients, preparing the perfect pie crust, and deciding the filling based on preference for sweet or savoury.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Selecting prime ingredients reserves authenticity in your pie recipe. Whether it’s garden-fresh Granny Smith apples for an American apple pie or selecting prime steak for a British steak and kidney pie, the end result shines when you choose quality. While sourcing ingredients, consider the outcome you desire. For instance, use mutton instead of beef in a Shepherd’s Pie to stay true to its English roots.

The Process of Making the Perfect Pie Crust

Perfecting a pie crust is half the battle in the artistry of pie-making. Combining flour, fat, and moisture in the right proportions will forge the balanced pie crust, which optimally should be buttery, flaky, and melt in your mouth. Owners of the golden crust possess a combination of skill and patience; the key lies in keeping your ingredients cold and handling the dough minimally. Overworking the dough cultivates gluten, which results in a tough crust.

Filling the Pie: Sweet vs Savoury

A crucial decision in pie-making is favouring between sweet or savoury fillings. Based on the culture and tradition of the pie you’re making, you could use different fillings – apples, cherries, or pecans for sweet pies, or meat, potatoes, and vegetables for savoury pies. Remember that the filling, like Russia’s Kurnik with chicken, mushrooms, and rice, or Japan’s Karē Pan with curry, represents the heart and soul of the pie. It’s what gives each pie its uniqueistic flavour, reflecting the culinary history of their place of origin.

Unique Pies Around the Globe

After focusing on traditional pies and the art of pie-making, it’s time to explore some unique pies across the globe. These pies, often unusual and intriguing, demonstrate the diversity of the world’s most loved comfort food.

Fusion Pies: Combining Cultures

Combining cultures often leads to vibrant creations, which is especially true in the case of fusion pies. Let me introduce you to some of these delightful culinary combinations.

Consider the Tandoori Chicken Pie, an Indian-inspired delicacy, especially in the UK. This pie presents an ingenious east meets west idea, combining the spicy flavours of Tandoori chicken in the traditional British pie form. Copper Branch, a Canadian restaurant chain, serves a Japanese-inspired pie, the Shiitake Teriyaki pie. Mushrooms cooked in Teriyaki sauce stuffed in crunchy, buttery pie crust surely astonish taste buds.

France and Italy, being close neighbours, have immensely influenced each other’s culinary scenes. The French-Italian fusion, the Ratatouille Pizza pie, is proof. This pie combines Ratatouille, a vegetable medley from France, with Italian Pizza concepts.

These fusion pies exemplify the culinary possibilities when different cultures merge, giving birth to unique taste blends.

Unexpected Pie Fillings

Following fusion pies, it’s time to explore some unexpected pie fillings.

Australia offers an exquisite dish – Kangaroo Tail Pie. Notoriously difficult to cook, Kangaroo tail, when slow-cooked and encased in a pie, provides an exceptional gastronomic experience, distinct from the conventional meat pies.

Let’s fly to South Uist, an island off the Scottish coast, where Guga Pie intrigues the locals and travellers alike. Named after Gugach, a Northern Gannet bird, this pie is filled with its smoked meat, exhibiting an acquired taste due to the strong flavours.

Switching from the savoury to sweet, Japan surprises with Anpan, a sweet pie filled with red bean paste. While beans in a dessert might raise eyebrows, Anpan has made a niche for itself in Japanese cuisine and offers a delightful departure from the usual fruity fillings.

Unconventional ingredients and cross-cultural blends define these unique pies around the globe, attesting to the limitless creativity in the world of pies.

The Impact of Pies on Global Cuisine

Pies, in their myriad forms, possess a considerable influence on global cuisine, shaping food cultures and forming integral parts of iconic traditional dishes across the globe. Let’s delve deeper into this phenomenal impact!

Altering Dietary Norms

First on the docket, pies modify dietary norms. People worldwide appreciate the versatility of pies, enjoying them as main meals, desserts, or snacks. For instance, in Italy, pizzas, essentially a type of pie, provide a convenient, popular meal. Meanwhile, in America, dessert pies such as key lime or pecan pies signify tradition, especially during celebrations like Thanksgiving.

Shaping Culinary Identities

Secondly, pies sculpt culinary identities. They reflect the rich heritage of diverse cultures, preserving traditional cooking techniques and ingredient choices. The British Meat and Potato Pie, for instance, epitomizes simplicity and comfort food in the UK. Contrastingly, the Argentine Empanada, oozing with a mouth-watering blend of meats and spices, portrays the country’s vibrant cuisine.

Driving Innovation in Cuisine

Finally, pies stimulate culinary creativity, inspiring novel gastronomic creations. For instance, Australia’s Kangaroo Tail Pie or the Tandoori Chicken Pie, that blends Indian flavours with the classic British pie format, illustrate innovative takes on traditional pie-making. These fusion pies, the amalgamations of distinctive cultural flavours, contribute to the dynamic, ever-evolving landscape of world cuisine.

Sustainability and Food Security

Interest in sustainability and food security also intertwines with the world of pies, prompting some interesting developments. Iceland’s Pylsur offers an example, utilizing all parts of the lamb, including the organ meat, highlighting responsible consumption. It’s further evidence of pies playing a distinctive role in global food trends and concerns.

Thus, pies have a substantial impact on global cuisine. Be it through defining culinary traditions, altering dietary norms, sparking innovative creations, or highlighting sustainability issues, pies have a pivotal role to play. These examples hopefully provide a clearer glimpse into the multifaceted role pies hold in the world of food – an influence that’s both profound and palatable.


It’s clear that pies, in all their glorious variety, aren’t just a culinary delight. They’re a testament to our diverse cultures, a canvas for culinary creativity, and a key player in shaping our food identities. From traditional shepherd’s pie to the innovative Tandoori Chicken Pie, they’ve shown their ability to adapt, surprise, and satisfy our palates. Pies have proven they’re more than a comfort food staple. They’re a global culinary phenomenon, challenging dietary norms and driving sustainable food practices. So, next time you tuck into your favourite pie, remember, you’re not just enjoying a meal – you’re partaking in a worldwide tradition that’s as rich and layered as the pie itself. Pies around the world have truly left an indelible mark on our culinary landscape, and it’s a journey I’ve been thrilled to explore.

By Zara