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National Cherry Pie Day is on February 20. With all its fruity, buttery goodness, we have our forks ready to devour this delicious dessert in all its forms — homemade or store-bought everything is better with pie! With this holiday being celebrated only a few days after Presidents’ Day, it is believed that this pie flavor was chosen for its significance to George Washington and the myth created by his biographer about Washington’s honesty when he cut down his father’s cherry tree.
History of National Cherry Pie Day
The first pie dates back as far as 9500 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Known for their love of sweets and meats, Egyptians usually made pies with honey and dates, which were encased in reeds, as the filling of a pie was only meant to be eaten. It is believed that the Romans learned about pies from the Greeks who then introduced this delectable dish to the rest of Europe.
Devoured only by royalty and the wealthy, the pie continued its culinary impact in medieval Europe as early Tupperware for baking, carrying, and storing food. Even though the reeds had now changed to a pastry made of flour and water, it was still inedible due to its thickness, hardness, and lack of flavor. The filling was still the main part of the dish, predominantly made of meat and seafood. As the shape of pie evolved into a narrow dish, the pie bases were called ‘coffyns’.
In the 1500s, fruit pies were introduced and became popular. The cherry pie is believed to have made its first appearance during this time and was presented to Queen Elizabeth I. Pies first came to America with the early English settlers, along with cherry trees, which were different from those that became native. The tradition of not eating the pie casing was still maintained. But it was during the American Revolution between 1775 and 1783 that the term ‘coffyn’ changed to ‘crust’ and, not long after, became something to eat as part of your pie and not just to protect or store its content.
The cherry pie is one of America’s favorite pie fillings, traditionally made with tart cherries instead of sweet ones, morello cherries, or native black cherries. This tasty dessert is great with large amounts of ice cream or cream, whipped or poured.
National Cherry Pie Day timeline
Ancient Egyptians make the first form of what we call pies today.
The Romans share their findings of the pie throughout Europe — the earliest written pie recipe for a goat's cheese and honey pie dates back to this time.
The first cherry pie is believed to be made in the U.K. for Queen Elizabeth I.
Agent Dale Cooper from the popular TV show “Twin Peaks” is crazy about cherry pie.
National Cherry Pie Day FAQs
What cherries are best for pies?
Sweet cherries like Bing and Rainier are among the most popular varieties and easiest to find fresh in the grocery store.
When is Cherry Day?
National Cherry Day is celebrated on July 16, annually.
Who invented the cherry pie?
Fruit pies became popular in the 1500s. The first cherry pie was prepared for Queen Elizabeth I.
National Cherry Pie Day Activities
Bake your own pie
Take the opportunity to make a mouth-watering homemade cherry pie. There are so many great recipes online. Or reconnect with tradition and practice making an old family recipe passed down from generation to generation.
Visit the pie shop
You do not have to be an avid baker to enjoy the festivities of this holiday. Why not treat yourself and those special to you with a local bakery bought pie and devour either at home or enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant. Add lashings of whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!
Buy statement fashion pieces
There are other ways to celebrate this holiday if you are not into pie. Why not buy some gorgeous pie-themed clothes or jewelry? Pop-art inspired designs of cherry pies with catchy slogans can be found on T-shirts and scarves or on earrings, necklaces, rings, etc.
5 Delicious Facts About Pie!
You are not alone if you are thinking warm and happy thoughts while reading this — surveys show that almost 50% of Americans think comforting thoughts when the word ‘pie’ is mentioned.
In Kansas, it was illegal to serve ice cream with cherry pie — this old law was repealed in the 1960s.
Dessert for breakfast
During the 1900s, fruit pies were considered a common breakfast option, especially if there was a long day ahead.
The cherry pie is America’s fifth favorite filling option, number one being apple, followed by pumpkin, pecan, and banana cream.
The original Tupperware
Pie crusts were originally used to preserve the filling — the pastry itself was extremely hard and inedible.
Why We Love National Cherry Pie Day
Great for sharing
You can share a whole pie with the family at home. Pies can make a great celebration centerpiece instead of the traditional cake. Or why not share a slice of pie with a friend while catching up on events since you last spoke.
Cherry pie never has to be boring and can be created to your own taste — whether you love Grandma’s traditional pie with its buttery short-crust pastry and beautiful designs, pies with a more modern flair using other pastries such as filo and puff, or even deep-fried pies encased in a light crispy batter — the options are endless.
A great pairing
Nothing is better when eating tasty cherry pie than the perfect accompaniment of cream, whipped or poured. Or, as seen in those famous mouthwatering food ads, topping a slice of pie with a creamy vanilla ice cream as it melts luxuriously over the buttery pastry and filling.
National Cherry Pie Day dates