It’s said that the word pie comes from magpie, a type of bird known for collecting and hording small items. In that way, a pie can be thought of as a collection of ingredients, secreted away inside a crust.
A pie is technically a dish with a baked filling topped with a crust. The top crust is usually pastry but can be another topping, such as biscuit or mashed potato (as in a shepherd’s pie).
Traditionally a pie, whether savory or sweet, has just a top crust. However, it can have a bottom crust, as in most American-style pies. And on the other hand, in Britain a sweet filling baked in just a shallow bottom crust is called a tart.
But our interest lies in those all-in-one meals, those warm-you-to-your-toes dishes, those comfort-food favorites: savory meat pies.