The answer is both. A careful examination of these early recipes reveals crust purpose. "Originally pies contained various assortments of meat and fish, and fruit pies do not appear until the late sixteenth century. Kaufman Greenwood Press:Westport CT 2006 (p. 31) NOTE : Modernized recipe follows (p. 31-32). Finished product wraps dough around filling, free form, not in a pie dish. Medieval European pies There is some controversy whether the pastry crust used in Medieval times was meant for eating or as a cooking receptacle. 603) First pies Food historians confirm ancient people made pastry. Recipes, cooking techniques, meal presence and presentations varied according to culture and cuisine. In the cradles of civilization (Mediterranean region including Ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia) the primary fat was olive oil. 2 Experimenting with this formula, we have adhered to the instructions as closely as possible, using regular pie dough to envelope the parboiled meat. The figs were retired from the sauce pan long before the meat was done and they were served around the ham as a garnish.
But those were flat affairs, since olive oil was used as the fat in the pastry and will not produce upstanding pies; pastry made with olive oil is 'weak' and readily slumps." - Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 2nd edition, Tom Jaine editor Oxford University Press:Oxford 2006 (p.