The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a baking dish, storage container, and serving vessel, and these are often too hard to actually eat. For hundreds of years, it was the only form of baking container used, meaning everything was a pie.
The first pies, called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as "traps." These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). These crust were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.Submitted by: TRAVISTOLER