I've been told that there are some differences between a "pie" and a "tart". What's the difference, and when do I call it a pie, and when do I call it a tart?

Sorry for my English!

  • 1
    Your English is fine :-)
    – TFD
    May 16 '11 at 9:24
  • 1
    @TFD Thanks, that's encouraging ^_^
    – evilReiko
    May 16 '11 at 10:10

Generally speaking, a pie refers to a pastry covered with a lid, like a typical apple pie. A tart is open topped, like a quiche, or a French tartes aux pommes.

However, there are exceptions to this: many pies will be open topped too. Usually this is a matter of depth: the deeper it is, the more likely it is to be called a pie rather than a tart.

Regional variations also apply.

  • Would a tart normally be served cold, while a pie often hot? I can't recall having a hot tart
    – TFD
    May 16 '11 at 9:26
  • 1
    Hmmm, not necessarily. You can have hot, savoury tarts as a main meal - 'sun-dried tomato and goat's cheese tart' is almost standard-issue at vegetarian restaurants. Dessert tarts are usually cold though. May 16 '11 at 9:30
  • 3
    Yes, of course, I have had those, just didn't remember them as tarts (thin and open(ish) topped). I just did a quick google on "hot tart" to check out any good recipes, very bad mistake!
    – TFD
    May 16 '11 at 10:15
  • Tarte Tatin? =)
    – Rob
    May 16 '11 at 11:51
  • I did say there were exceptions. Although tarte tatin isn't really lidded, it's just upside down... May 16 '11 at 12:05

It's the shape. A tart is baked in a shallow dish with straight sides; a pie dish is deeper, and has sloping sides. At least, that's the way it is in the US.

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