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In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil.
When combined with ground grains, it produced a rudimentary type of pastry.
The challenging part of researching these early pies is most of us rely on translators of original texts.
These can vary according to scholarly proficiency and educated interpretation.
 Experimenting with this formula, we have adhered to the instructions as closely as possible, using regular pie dough to envelope the parboiled meat.Remove the skin and make diagonal incisions into the meat. Then make a dough of oil and flour and wrap the ham in it. "Cover the base of a pan, large enough to take the ham, with figs and lay the ham, stuffed with figs, on top. Cover, and boil the ham for 1 hour over a low heat. When the ham is cooked, dry it well and make incisions all over the flesh. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Different inventories list different ingredients for mersu, so there were many recipes. Finished product wraps dough around filling, free form, not in a pie dish.] Medieval European pies There is some controversy whether the pastry crust used in Medieval times was meant for eating or as a cooking receptacle. A careful examination of these early recipes reveals crust purpose.Take it out of the oven when the dough is cooked and serve. Pour in a little salted water and press the crumbs into a ball. Then roll it into a sheet on a marble surface dusted with flour, and use as the recipe requires." (p. mersu always seemed to contain first-quality dates and butter; beyond that, different records list pistachios, garlic, onion seed, and other seemingly incongruous ingredients. "Originally pies contained various assortments of meat and fish, and fruit pies do not appear until the late sixteenth century..could be open as well as having a crust on top." ---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press: Oxford] 2002 (p. Pie can be closed, open, small, large, savory or sweet.The basic concept of pies and tarts has changed little throughout the ages.