If pie ≈ Kuchen and Kuchen ≈ bread, then bread ≈ pie?

And how does Torte figure in here?

Sarah’s been experimenting with crusty baked goods lately, ever since she got back from Poland with some equipment. We’ve shied away from pies, quiches and tarts our since having moved to Germany because of the crappiness of the oven in our old place. Now that that’s no longer an issue, we’ve got another desserty avenue to explore and share with the locals (which I often do at work).

But, were I to bring in a cherry pie to share (last night’s test run was definitely worthy), what would I call it in German? dict.leo.org suggests Kuchen for pie. I would have guessed Torte, I suppose, but maybe my concept of tarts and tortes is off. And if pie translates to Kuchen, and the pumpkin/banana/zucchini bread I bring in to share counts as Kuchen what does that imply about pie’s relationship to bread? Should just give up and introduce it as “Cherry Pie” and be done with it?

I am sure this is one of those math things.

10 thoughts on “If pie ≈ Kuchen and Kuchen ≈ bread, then bread ≈ pie?”

  1. Bud

    My German partner simply learned PIE as THE word for a pie. Each time it´s introduced it simply needs to be explained…better if WITH a pie to look at. I always thought torte meant a “tall” more than two layer cake and the layers being thin. It seems it does depend where you are as to what THEY mean with torte. Here I have noted a so-called “torte” is fancier and taller. In a Russian pastry store in Dresden, they called ALL cakes of more than 2 layers a torte.

  2. Alice

    To me, a pie is a pie, not matter where in the world you are!

    PS – I am so envious of all the great ceramic stuff you got!!!

  3. J

    I’d go with Cherry pie because it’d probably seem more exotic to Germans. If you do want to use a German word, I’d go with Torte – which I think is used as a pieish type thing in my region.

  4. Christina | AmiExpat

    I agree, just call it a pie. Alternatively, you could call it a tarte, that might be more recognized. Torten tend to be layer cakes, and yeah, Kuchen is more doughy.

  5. J

    aha! Tarte, not Torte. That’s the word I was looking for.

    Thanks, MsG.

    1. cliff1976

      I struggled a bit with this one because

      • my old standby, dict.leo.org didn’t reference “Tarte” at all (probably because it’s a French word, but I didn’t know this at the time).
      • I asked a native speaker dude (admittedly, an Oberpfälzer) what a Tarte was and he had no idea. He’s a consultant (that’s why I asked him!), but not to the fancy dessert industry.

      Finally I looked up Tarte at de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarte and was impressed with the nice looking tarts there. Something to strive for!

  6. Yelli

    That pottery is beautiful! I am going to have to find a way to get over there!

    As far as your question, I too struggle with that question. I have resorted to just calling it a pie for now and trying to explain it is different than anything here. One taste (if you can get them to taste pie!) and they are usually convinced! :)

  7. Sarah

    As Christina said, I would try ‘Tarte,’ but that seems pretty hit or miss. I’ve seen it written on labels in bakeries, but if Cliff’s co-worker was unfamiliar with it, I dunno.

    If someone asks what a pie is, just say ‘lecker,’ and offer a slice!

  8. budcat

    “A torte is a cake made with many eggs and usually ground nuts or even bread crumbs instead of or in addition to flour. Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word “Torte” (pronounced [ˈtoʀtə], which has a somewhat different meaning), which was derived from the Italian word torta, which was used to describe a round cake or bread.
    The most well-known of the typical tortes include the Austrian Sacher torte and Linzertorte and the many-layered Hungarian Dobos torte. But other well-known European confections are also tortes, such as the French Gateau St. Honore.
    A element common to most tortes is sweet icing. (Exceptions include several French tortes, such as Gâteau Mercédès and Gâteau Alcazar.) When the cake is layered, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, but there is almost always icing on the tops and sides of the torte. A number of European tortes do not have layers.
    In America, wedding cakes are sometimes called tortes, and their creation has developed into quite a complicated technique of its own”

  9. Mom

    Wow, sounds very much like the mess in Spanish with torta, tarta, and pastel, which all trade meanings depending on which Spanish-speaking country one is in, and can vary from pie to cake to sandwich. And to accomodate American influence in those countries where American pie is served, it is often spelled pay (pronounced pie) because pie (pronounced pee- ay, rhymes with we weigh) means foot.
    Just make a good one and eat it.
    I love the pottery! Especially the pie dish.
    Love, Mom

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