Facts About Desserts


A 2008 survey conducted by Schwan's Consumer Brands North America, Inc asked TV viewers which fictional TV mom would bake the best pie. "Carol Brady" of "The Brady Bunch" came in at first place, while "Claire Huxtable" of "The Cosby Show" came in second place. Although these TV moms are fictional characters, this study highlights our obsession with facts about desserts.

What is Dessert?

  • The perfect finishing touch to the end of the meal is a dessert. No meal seems complete without it. Derived from the French word "desservir," dessert is traditionally a sweet snack or pastry at the end of the meal, typically served with tea or coffee. Having a dessert of cakes, pie, ice cream or other sweets at the end of a meal is a relatively new custom in Western culture. Previously, dessert was simply eating a handful of nuts or fruit at the end of the meal, but gradually desserts including tarts, pies and other sweets were introduced.

A Hot Commodity

  • Before industrialization in the 19th century, sugar was a rare and precious commodity that was often out of reach for the masses. Only the upper classes were fortunate enough to enjoy pastries and other sweet delights. However, the Industrial Revolution changed sugar production and made it more widely available. As a result, more people could afford sugar and began making their own desserts at home. Dessert then became more popular and is now a permanent fixture at meal time.

History of Apple Pie

  • It's no secret that apple pie is the most popular dessert in the U.S. and it has a long and storied history. During the Colonial Era, migrants from England brought their fondness of apple pie with them. At first, the English version of the apple pie had no sugar added to the recipe, since the prices of sugar were very high and unaffordable for most settlers. Since then, many variations of apple pie have been popularized, such as Dutch apple pie which has a lattice top crust, and also Swedish apple pie which uses no pie crust to make the dessert.

Evolution of Pie

  • The first mention of a fruit pie in a printed publication is from Robert Green's "Arcadia" published in 1590. In 1644, Oliver Cromwell banned the consumption of pie and declared that it was a form of pleasure only for "pagans." For the next 16 years, the pie prohibition forced would-be pie eaters to make and enjoy their beloved tart in secrecy. But the pie ban was later lifted in 1660. Many wealthy English people made "Surprise Pies" from which live creatures popped out when the pie was cut open.

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