South African Pies
I usually write about food in Amsterdam, but have temporarily moved by mobile office down to the southern hemisphere. Johannesburg, which seems to be a neglected culinary destination, has a growing number of weekend (food) markets, often in interesting renovated buildings.
Markets to try for pies - and a host of other homemade or locally produced items, including biltong, fynbos honey, cheese, beer, raw chocolate and the samosas mentioned in some of the other posts - are Neighbourgoods on Saturdays http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/ and Arts on Main on Sundays http://www.artsonmain.co.za/.
It's not exactly a pie, but I discovered 'roosterkoek' at one of the food stalls at Arts on Main. An Afrikaans word that translates literally as 'grill cake', these are bread rolls cooked on a braai (bbq) and then stuffed with grilled meats, sauces and the like. They are delicious! This site has a good description and photo: http://www.cooksister.com/2010/05/roosterkoek-a-south-african-braai-essential-1.html.
At the Rosebank Market on Sunday try the chicken pies from the vendor next to the cheese people in the corner. They are delicious gut-fillers (in the best sense), I think they come from a place called 'The Home of the Chicken Pie' that is on the R512 heading NW out of Johannesburg to Hartbeespoort (the road that also takes you to Lanseria Airport).
I know it is very late to reply to this, but reading through the posts just got my mouth watering and I wanted to add my 2cents:
Whenever in Pretoria, get to Varsity Bakery in Lynwood Road and order the pepper steak pie - heck, order two of them. No better pie in the world.
I'm stuck in the US and just the thought of a pepper steak pie makes me miss home even more... :(
came here looking for a recipe myself, so here you go. this first link is to what looks like the supplier to those gas stions. those pies are truly amazing. the second link is to the site with the recipe. it's the best I could find and IMHO as an expat, I think the secret is the sago.
Ideal for the lunch box, picnic, or alfresco meals, this delicious pepper steak pie recipe is from the author and food enthusiast, Mariam Jadwa-Omar's book, "Creative cooking-the easy way". Available in most community book stores.
PEPPER STEAK PIES
2 large sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
500g rump steak, cut into 1cm cubes
1 Tblsp butter
1 green Chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp garlic pasta
1 tsp crushed black pepper
Salt to taste
2 cups water
½ cup sago
Egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
Poppy seeds, to sprinkle
18 mini foil packs
Braise green Chilli and garlic in butter
Add meat, pepper and salt, and cook until meat is tender.
Boil sago in water until clear and glossy and add to cooked meat.
Using a round cutter, the same diameter as mini foil pack, cut 18 rounds from each pastry sheet.
Line each foil pack with one pastry round.
Spoon filling over base and cover with another pastry round. Press edges to seal.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Sorry to weigh in so late...
When you say 'pie' to a South African, they automatically assume you're talking about a meat pie. Sweet (fruit) pies have almost no presence here. And given colonial influences in SA, our pie preferences tend towards the British. Chicken, lamb, fish, and of course, the ever-popular steak and kidney. The pastry is pretty much the same as in the UK. Most commmercial pies include a certain amount of vegetable fats with or instead of butter; better, home-made ones will be made out of flaky pastry or puff.
Other, related foods you might try exploring are bobotie (mince, but with a non-pastry cover), and another immensely popular snack food, samoosas, which also have a pastry crust and often a meaty filling.
As an ex-pat, trapped in the sweet toothed US, let me agree re the 'pie' question. In SA, 'pie' means a savory thing - unlike the US where it automatically means 'sweet'. So almost every corner store sells fresh or frozen pies.
As a glutton of note - the standard corner-store (or as they're called in SA, 'cafe's')
pie fillings are:
cheese and onion
beef and onion
steak and kidney
When in SA - try EVERYTHING :) The foods available are a dizzying mishmash of African, British, Malay, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese, Greek.. as well as the standard 'junk food' of US/Chinese/Italian takeout..
if the original poster is from the US - then the 'samoosas' mentioned - unlike the bloated potato-filled weird concoction in the US, in Africa, are an extremely delicious treat, which also come in a wide variety of fillings - almost entirely savory.
Okay, now I'm hungry, damn it :)