Food & Wine

Moreish pies

Moreish pies

From flaky crusts and fruity centres, to crispy, golden baked dishes with generous, moreish fillings, the humble pie is the kind of comfort food that promises a savoury start or a sweet ending to any meal. From old family hand-me-downs to healthy, healing recipes, some of our local pie lovers share their favourites.

Debbie Cameron and Bob’s Chicken Pie

Accredited Hillcrest Physiotherapist, Debbie takes her cooking cues from her chef brother, Robert O’Donnell, who is known and loved for his special chicken pie.

“Since childhood, I’ve called my brother Bob. Bob ran the kitchen at Cambridge University’s Cancer Research Centre. In 2009, when my daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia, Bob reorganised my kitchen, taught me how to cook with the highest hygienic standard and educated me on quality ingredients to help her body fight cancer, recover from chemotherapy and keep her safe from infection. My daughter completely recovered from leukaemia, so cancer can be beaten. She is passionate about chickens and currently studying Animal and Poultry Science at Pretoria University, so I thought it appropriate that I share this recipe.”



Bob’s Chicken Pie



6 medium chicken thighs – skin on, bone in and seasoned.

Pre-made pastry, puff or shortcrust as per preference

25g plain flour

25g butter

400ml chicken stock

100ml milk

1 heaped tablespoon of soft cream cheese OR 50ml double thick cream



Roast chicken till well done. De-bone and skin while warm. (This can be done the day before). Make roux with flour and butter, adding milk and cream cheese to reach thick consistency. Must be thicker than double cream. Taste and then season. Add chicken to the mixture and heat through.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line an 18cm pie dish with pastry. Add filling, then pastry lid, followed by milk wash. Cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Notes: Using chicken thighs with skin and bone gets the tastiest and juiciest result. I place the pie dish on a pre-heated baking stone to ensure the bottom pastry is crispy. Best not made during a heat wave as the pastry is un-workable, sticky and floppy. The same recipe can be used to make chicken soup. I just dilute with weak stock to reach the right consistency, use half the amount of chicken thighs and obviously no pastry.



Ian du Randt and his gran’s Cottage Pie       Ian’s Gran Elizabeth      

When he was a teenager, Ian (MD of Compass Medical Waste Services) went to live with his grandmother, Elizabeth Auchterlonie, which stood him in good stead for later on in life.

“With my gran working in the catering industry, I spent lots of time in industrial kitchens and learnt so much about the catering industry. In 1975, after completing my national service,  I launched Du Randt Takeaways in partnership with my brother-in-law. Pies, hot dogs, sandwiches and burgers were sold to office parks in the area, delivered by staff on bicycles.”

The rapid success of the business lead to Ian and his business partner buying the largest industrial catering company in Zimbabwe – Puza Mushi – which means eat well. Du Randt’s takeaways was absorbed into this business and Puza Mushi provided meals to factories and canteens all over Harare.

“If it wasn’t for my gran, I probably wouldn’t have had such success in the kitchen, so in memory of her, I’d like to a cottage pie recipe which she handed down to me many years ago.”

Elizabeth Auchterlonie’s Cottage Pie



6 medium potatoes – peeled (and milk and butter for mash)

500g lean mince

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup brown mushrooms, sliced

1 beef stock cube

¼ cup water

1 tbsp. sunflower oil for frying

1 tbsp. garlic and lemon mix

3-4 tbsp. tomato paste

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp rosemary

1 tsp salt

½ cup grated cheese to sprinkle on top of mash



Peel the potatoes, slice in half and boil until soft.

Fry the onion in the cooking oil until soft. Add the mince, garlic and lemon mix, stock cube and water to the onions. Once the mince is sealed and has a nice brown colour to it, add the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Mix together well. Allow to simmer for five to 10 minutes. Once everything is cooked, add the mixture to a round casserole dish.

Mash the potatoes, then add some milk and butter to create a soft even consistency (it should not be runny). Now spread the mashed potato evenly over the mince mixture and then sprinkle with cheese – this is optional but tastes delicious! Place the dish under the grill for a few minutes and allow the cheese to melt and turn golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Tenley Cummings and the Mulberry Pie

Growing up, Tenley (Marketing Manager for Compass Medical Waste Services) enjoyed the fruits of a large mulberry tree that lived in their Kloof garden, which was not only great for silkworm season but for making fresh mulberry pie.

“We had dessert every night and it was always homemade that day. I haven’t made it for my family yet, but thinking back on how delicious the mulberry pie was with cream, perhaps it is time to treat them with the perfect dessert for a cooler evening.

Good Old Mulberry and Rhubarb Pie



1 pastry for double-crust pie

2 cups mulberries

1 cup thinly sliced rhubarb

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter



Combine mulberries and rhubarb in a medium bowl. Combine sugar and flour in a separate bowl. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bottom of a pastry lined 9-inch pie pan. Pour mulberries and rhubarb into the pie pan and add remaining flour mixture. Dot with butter. Place top crust, cut steam vents, and flute edges. Alternatively, you can create a lattice crust if preferred. Bake at 220°C for 40 to 50 minutes or until crust is brown and juice is bubbling out of steam vents.


Andrew de Bruin and his Classic Cape Brandy and Date Pie

Pastry Chef at the Hilton Hotel in Durban, Andrew loves sweet things, especially the kind of foods that remind him of his childhood. “One of the first sweet dishes I made when I dove into the food industry was the Classic Cape Brandy and Date Pie.

This recipe was taught to me by the chefs who helped mould my passion.  It’s definitely a dessert pie suited to winter or colder nights, and best served warm with some vanilla custard or cream. It never fails to remind me of home.”

Cape Brandy and Date Pie

Step 1


50g butter

2 cups light brown sugar

2 eggs


Step 2


500g dates

3 tsp bicarbonate of soda

500ml water


Step 3


560g cake flour

28g baking powder

1 tsp salt

80g pecan nuts

500g rolled puff pastry





75ml vanilla essence

1,5 litres of water

150ml brandy



This recipe makes one 30cm flan pan. Roll out puff pastry and line in a large tart mould, make sure the mould is non-stick or non-stick spray is applied. Cream stage 1 together until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add stage 3, gradually followed by stage 2. Mix well until mixture is smooth. Pour mixture in the large pastry tart mould and bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 180°C. Allow to cool down and add boiled syrup, to allow syrup to soak through. Best to serve with whipped cream, custard or vanilla ice cream.

Optional: You can always create a lattice crust for the top. You’ll need to add the boiled syrup through the vents though, which might make the final touches a little more time consuming, but it does make for a gorgeous presentation.


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