For one, thing, they’ve been around since the time of the Egyptians in like 9500 B.C. They didn’t eat the crust, it was originally made as a dish that the stew or fruit or sauces. Some cook didn’t have a pot to cook in, so he (or maybe she, hard to say) made a crust out of flour and water and cooked in it. Apparently the crust, which was to hard to eat, was broken up after the nobles had eaten and handed out to the serfs. I guess they managed to eat it. Hunger is a great motivator.
The Greeks picked up this little recipe and made their own version of pie. They also invented pi (π), but that’s a different thing. The standard pie moved to England and spread all over Europe. Someone dreamed up the idea of incorporating fat into the crust, and the modern-day pie was born.
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….The derivation of the word may be from magpie, shortened to pie. The explanation offered in favour or this is that the magpie collects a variety of things, and that it was an essential feature of early pies that they contained a variety of ingredients….Early pies were large; but one can now apply the name to something small, as the small pork pies or mutton pies…Early pies had pastry tops, but modern pies may have a topping of something else…or even be topless. 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.”
—The Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] (p. 602-3)
So, worldwide baking was taking place!
When the pilgrims came to America, they brought the pie with them. They discovered a multitude of fruits and berries that could go into a pie, and the apple pie was born. With this long history, bakers have been able to refine and perfect recipes, which is why is the best dessert anywhere!