The Difference Between American And British Apple Pie, According To Paul Hollywood - Exclusive

We all know the saying "American as apple pie." But like so many foods this country embraces as its own, apple pie originated somewhere else. Apple pie was actually born in Britain during medieval times and came to the New World during the colonial era. It seems to have caught on quickly, as it appears twice in the first American cookbook ever, Amelia Simmons' "American Cookery," which was released in 1796.

Much as the U.S. has changed and grown since throwing off its British rulers, American apple pie has evolved from its British roots. Nowadays, you can find numerous twists on the recipe, from zucchini apple pie to Dutch apple pie to McDonald's apple pie (the McDonald's version is as American as it gets). And who could be better at tracking apple pie's evolution than Britain's foremost baking expert, "The Great British Bake Off" judge Paul Hollywood?

Tasting Table spoke exclusively with Paul Hollywood and his co-judge, Prue Leith, who were visiting America to talk about the debut of "The Great American Baking Show," a stateside riff on the classic "Bake Off" formula. The two baking luminaries weighed in on the differences between British and American baking, including how the U.S. has put its own spin on apple pie.

The difference comes down to the seasoning — and the apples

Paul Hollywood did a cross-country American road trip for a miniseries called "Paul Goes to Hollywood." We asked him what he enjoyed most about the food in the Deep South, and he didn't hesitate with his answer: "For me, the best thing would be the apple pie — traditional Southern apple pie." He grew up eating his mom's apple pie in the U.K., but the pies he tried in the South really stood out. He explained, "The difference in the U.S. is the volume of the apple, the size of the apple, and there are punchy flavors. The use of cinnamon is very good."

While Brits sometimes put cinnamon in apple pie, Hollywood told us it's not a mandatory ingredient over there like it is in the U.S.: "I don't think my mum put it in; my mum just used a little bit of sugar and apple. I don't remember at all having cinnamon."

Prue Leith also jumped into the conversation and pointed out that the lack of spice in British apple pie might be because the apples in the U.K. taste different: "It makes a terrific difference what kind of apples you have. In England, those apples are cooking apples — Bramley, which cooks down to a very light and delicious but very strongly flavored apple puree. That doesn't need any cinnamon." Ultimately, the amazing thing about apple pie is how adaptable it is — it can be made in innumerable delicious ways.

You can watch "The Great American Baking Show" now on The Roku Channel.