AROUND the world, the idea of what makes a pie great is oft disputed. By and large, the average South African and UK pie is of the savory variety. In America however, the pie is mostly known as a dessert, apple pie being the most famous. I never knew such a variety of fruit pies existed until I came to America…
I am known for making sausage rolls and meat pies – the South African in me can only last for so long without enjoying it…
The Ancient Greeks are given the glory of the original pie pastry after sweetmeats and pastries filled with fruit made appearances in plays written around 5 BC.
A first century Roman cookbook Apicius also contains some recipes which involve a ‘pie case’, a cooked fowl or piece of meat covered in a pastry of sorts, which was originally not meant to be eaten but was simply a cover to keep the juices in. As the Roman Empire spread and its transport network grew, the pie was introduced far and wide.
The origin of the modern pie can be traced back to England around the 14th century with references found to peacock pies served at royal banquets.
Today the savory pie is common in almost every country – but no more so than South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand – a quick, delicious and filling take-away for lunch.
Spinach & feta and cheese & onion pies are popular vegetarian choices and are sold alongside the meaty ones at bakeries, supermarkets, truck stops, etc.
I found this delicious recipe for cheese puffs. They were first made in Cornwall, UK (known for its famous pasties) in the early 1900’s and are easy and quick to make. I always have a sheet or two of puff pastry in my refrigerator so I’m ready when I need to be ready 😉
Yield : 9 pies
Pre-heat oven to 220 C or 415 F
2 Eggs, well beaten (keep a tbs to brush the top of the pies)
2 TBS butter
1/2 to 1 cup grated strong cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Sheet puff pastry
Grated parmesan for the top of the puffs and a pinch of smoked paprika
Grate the cheese and place it in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and let it melt gently
Add the butter, seasoning and the well beaten eggs.
Whisk continuously until it resembles a thick cream.
Allow to cool completely.
When the cheese mix is cold, roll out your puff pastry thinly and cut it into rounds, about 4 inches in diameter.
Place a spoonful of the mixture on each round. Moisten the edges with a little beaten egg then fold in half and pinch the edges together. Brush the top with more beaten egg, add a sprinkling of the parmesan and paprika and bake in the hot oven for about 14-15 mins.