The glorious smell of a pie or tart baking in the oven is irresistible, and the taste of something homemade is unbeatable. The terms “pie” and “tart” are often used interchangeably, however pie is thought of as an American dessert and tarts are European.
But what is a pie versus a tart versus other fruit desserts?
Pies: Pies are “as American as apple pie.” Pies can be made either sweet or savory and the fillings are as varied as your imagination, including ingredients such as fruit, nuts, chocolate, and custards.
A pie starts with a layer of crust or pastry lined in the bottom of a pie pan. The pastry is sometimes pre-baked before the filling is added, called “blind baking,” or it may be baked at the same time with the filling. The filling is typically covered with a whole top pastry, pastry formed into a lattice design, streusel topping, or meringue. Common ingredients for sweet pie are fruit, such as Fresh Peach Pie; custards, such as Great Pumpkin Pie; nuts, such as Pecan Pie; refrigerator pies with a gelatin-type filling such as 3-layer Strawberry Lemon Cheese Pie; meringue, such as Lemon Meringue Pie.
Pie is served straight from the pan it is baked in. Pie pans are fairly shallow, typically made of glass, metal, or ceramic, with sloping sides.
Tarts: Tarts like pies, also start with a bottom crust or pastry and have a sweet or savory filling; however instead of a top crust they are normally open-faced. Tarts are unmolded from the pan before serving. Common ingredients for sweet tarts are fruit, such as Summer Berry Tart; custard or cheese, such as Lemon blueberry Cheese Tart; nuts, such as Rustic Nut Tart.
A tart pan is shallower than a pie pan and has two pieces, a straight-sided outer ring often with a fluted edge, and a removable bottom. Tart pans may vary from 8 to 12 inches and serve several people. Tartlet pans are 2 to 4 inches and are perfect for individual servings. Tarts are also made using a pastry ring on top of a baking sheet.
For other fruit desserts see: Bettys, Buckles, Cobblers, and More