05/26/2014 12:50 pm ET | Updated Jul 26, 2014

Must-Try Delicious Pies From Around the World

Most of us know the saying "as American as apple pie," right? It's an old classic but, unfortunately, also completely inaccurate. Apple pies actually come from England, and even then that's really just another take on the German apple strudel, which dates all the way back to the later 17th century.

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The point is that pies are such a versatile dish that they're eaten in many cultures and assume many forms. Though the apple pie comes from England (or Germany) it has been adopted and changed by the U.S. to the point where it's now an American classic dish. So too with meat pies -- though they were first eaten in medieval Europe they are now a staple classic in Australia and New Zealand (think a small handheld Aussie meat-pie eaten with ketchup). No matter where you are in the world that culture probably has its own pie creation that reflects the people and their tastes and history.

Regardless of what kind of pie you're eating, the pastry treat itself has a very long and practical history: when people first began cooking food in ovens there was little to protect the meat (and other ingredients) from the searing heat (there's was no temperature dial on the world's first ovens, believe it or not). As a result the juices would fizzle out and everything would burn rather quickly.

As a solution the bready dough was used to protect the meat from the fire and heat while it cooked, with a surprise result: the dough absorbed the juices of the meat as it cooked making the entire case and filling a dish in itself. And so we have the first pie. Since then pies have become a lot more complex taking on many different forms and decadent fillings.

There's a lot of debate around the actual definition of the of the word "pie." Pie-purists insist that the dish needs to be encased in pastry to deserve the name, but that excludes the good old English Cottage Pie. Other says it just needs to be baked in some kind of a pie-like dish... after all, at one point in history everything baked in pie crust. But that would exclude key-lime pie and coconut cream pie.

The truth is there is really no firm definition of what makes a pie... the general consensus is that it should either be baked in a pie dish or have (at least) a base made of pastry. Fruit or meat, cheese or chocolate, filo or shortcrust -- read on to find out what pies creations people are eating around the world.

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  • Russian Coulibiac
    A coulibiac is a Russian dish consisting of a filled pie usually made with salmon, sturgeon, rice or buckwheat, onions, dill and hard-boiled eggs. The pie is baked in a pastry shell that’s made usually out of brioche or puff pastry. The dish was so popular in Russia in the early part of the twentieth century that Auguste Escoffier, the famed French chef, brought it to France and included recipes for it in his masterwork “The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.”
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    Photo Credit: © Flickr / Natalya
  • Florida Key Lime Pie (U.S.A.)
    Key lime pie is a dessert that’s made of Key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. The dish is named after the small Key that are naturalized throughout the Florida Keys on the American east coast. Key limes are more tart and aromatic than the common Persian limes seen year round in most U.S. grocery stores and the juice is pale yellow.
    During mixing, a reaction between the condensed milk and the acidic lime juice occurs which causes the filling to thicken on its own without requiring baking. Many early recipes for Key lime pie did not require the cook to bake the pie, relying on this chemical reaction to thicken the mixture enough for the filling.
    Photo Credit: © Flickr / Pillsbury
  • Nigerian Meat Pie
    Nigerian meat pies which are very similar to Jamaican beef patties are considered snacks in Nigeria. The pies are traditionally filled with meat, carrots and potatoes but more vegetables can be added.
    Photo Credit: © Flickr / Joe
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  • Bolivian Salteñas
    Though theoretically more pastry than pie, salteñas are savory pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken and mixed in a spicy sauce along with peas, potatoes and other savory ingredients.
    They are traditionally eaten as a mid-morning snack, although vendors often start selling salteñas very early in the morning.
    Photo Credit: © Flickr / Brent Miller
  • Greek Spanakopita
    Its name may be a mouthful to pronounce but this little Greek pie is actually small enough to be eaten as a snack. It is in the burek family of pastries with a filling of chopped spinach, onions and scallions, feta cheese, eggs and seasoning. The filling is wrapped or layered in phyllo (filo) pastry with butter and olive oil, either in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, or rolled into individual triangular servings.”
    Click Here to see More Must-Try Delicious Pies From Around the World
    Photo Credit: © Flickr / Joey & Dora

- -Serusha Govender, The Daily Meal

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