HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Pies - Sweet or Savoury - Your Favourite

Here in SA, a "pie" is generally considered to be a Savoury delight, but I know in other countries it refers to sweet treats as well.

I would like to know what your favourite pie is.....savoury or sweet......which flavour has you drooling for more....and whether you generally make your own pies or buy them.

For me, my favourite savoury pie is Mutton Curry and my sweet treat would be anything with caramel or banana!

Feel free to post your favourite recipes here too.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. One of the classic American (North) desserts--perhaps THE classic-- is apple pie. In fact, there's a saying, "As American as apple pie." For Thanksgiving, Americans (USA) typically have pumpkin pie (sometimes sweet potato pie instead) for dessert. I also like rhubarb custard pie (sweet) and berry pies (sweet: blackberry, blueberry, raspberry or a combination thereof). Other typical American sweet pies include cherry, lemon meringue, pecan, banana cream, and peach. I always make my own sweet pies. Pie making in this country is getting to be a lost art.

    For savory, a classic American example is chicken pot pies. Americans of my generation grew up with Swanson's chicken pot pies. I just made homemade chicken pot pie using a Cook's Illustrated recipe for the first time this month and it was great. No more Swanson's for me!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PAO

      Canadians cook a lot of apple pies too! My departed mother still made the best I ever had. We had apple trees out back at our cottage, and we would pick and pare them while she made pastry. I never learned how she did it, but her pastry was perfect - crunchy and flaky on the top (partially because she dusted it with sugar before baking), but firm enough on the bottom to hold the slice together. Yet you could still cut through the bottom with a fork with hardly any pressure. I know she tossed the apples with sugar, cinnamon, and allspice before putting them in the pie. (Oh, and you didn't mention the venerable Boston cream pie - yum!)

      As for savoury pies, she made chicken pot pie, and turkey pot pies after Thanksgiving. Mom didn't make tourtiere (a French-Canadian meat pie), but I've enjoyed it when I'm in Quebec.

    2. S.A, being South Africa or South America?
      Oh, mutton curry sounds intriguing, are there veggies in it?
      I do enjoy spicy empanadas with meat and fruit.
      I'm not a real pie person but I do enjoy an irresistible hot deep dish berry pie with ice cream. But I must say my favorite sweet pie must be lemon meringue...light and not too sweet.

      1. PAO - wow, the berry pie sounds awesome! Sadly, I'm not much good at sweet pies (no cultural heritage for that I'm afraid! :)
        KevinB, I do like a good apple pie - with a dash of caramel!

        P Macias - SA being South Africa, sorry about that! Yes, the mutton curry pie is truly amazing. The one I like here has no veggies, simply soft tender mutton, with onion - not even potato. Another nice one is the Madagascan Pepper pie! Anyone have a recipe for something like that?

        1. My favorite pie is a savory one that we only make at Easter. It is called a Pizza Rustica (pizza meaning pie in Italian) and it is a 2 crust pie filled with almost all the delightful things -- salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, etc -- that you would find in a salumeria.

          1 Reply
          1. re: roxlet

            Since I am not a cake lover my wife learned to make the best pie crust from scratch from her mother, now for my birthday instead of a cake I always get a rhubarb and raspberry pie using our own rhubarb and raspberries. For savory I love the traditional French Canadian meat pie using ground beef and ground pork and potatoes, the seasoning is heavy on sage with a touch of clove and cinnamon. We always eat this on Christmas eve.

          2. I have two big favorites when it comes to savory pies, Melton Mowbray pork pie and steak and mushroom pie. Both these have their roots in the UK.

            2 Replies
            1. re: giveittomikey

              A sweet pie needs to be tart in my opinion. I don't like overly sweet apple pie. It should bear resemplance to the fruit that's in it, and I like sour apples.

              So, apple, blueberry, or lemon merangue pie I would say. Unfortunately, I don't really eat sweet things, as I tend to hog out on the mains. Apart from a danish for breakfast now again.

              1. re: giveittomikey

                Cherries are for chumps. Key lime for kidders. Pork pie is the only pie for me!

              2. My favorite pies fall into the sweet category - strawberry rhubarb, wild blackberry, bourbon pecan, and country peach. However after finally defeating a third-generational fear of pie crusts I think I need to branch out into the savory side of life. Your favorites sound delicious!

                1. Savory: beefsteak and mushroom pie Sweet: Wild Maine blueberry with GOBS of whipped cream.
                  More, please!

                  1. Mutton curry pie sounds great. Is this a SA classic?

                    I'll swap you that for a Cheshire pork & apple pie. That's Cheshire as in north west. England.

                    It's a shortcrust pastry one and you'll need 1kg pork loin cubed, some streaky bacon, 250g chopped onion, 375g dessert apple (Cox, Russet, that sort of thing) thinly sliced, some sugar, butter and 150ml white wine, lager or, best of all, dry cider.

                    Line the pie dish then add a layer of pork. Then a scattering of bacon, onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Then some apple. Repeat the layers until everything's use dup. Dot with butter; pour over the booze and put a pastry to on. Bake at 220C for 20 minutes or so, then turn the heat down to 160C for another 45 minutes. Stick a skewer in to see if it feels done.

                    Great local food - we're rather good at growing pork in Cheshire and none too shabby with apples either.

                    1. Classic chicken pot pie with chunks of well seasoned chicken pieces, roasted carrots, pearl onions, diced celery, rustic potatoes (sometimes fresh peas) in a creamy chicken gravy poured into a soon to be flaky crust-oh my that's good...on the savory side.

                      On the sweet side I love fruits of the forest pie. That's fresh peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blackberries, apples and plums tossed into a raspberry puree and baked in a cider infused pastry crust. Heaven on a plate.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HillJ

                        oh my! drooling about the pot pie! great description.

                      2. Favorite pies...chicken, raspberry, key lime, mixed berry.

                        1. i love clafoutis, with raspberries and blueberries. hmm. something about the onctuous texture and tangy fruit that wins me over!

                          1. Nut pies, especially pecan are another variety of sweet pies. There are variations, some with the nuts mixed into the "matrix", some with the nuts on top. The matrix is some combination of sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, or in some recipies even maple syrup. Some recipes add rum or bourbon as well. if you make it without the nuts it is sometimes referred to as transparent pie, even if it isn't really transparent.

                            So for dessert/sweet pies you have fruit (apple, berry, cherry, etc), vegetable (pumpin, sweet potato, squash, etc), nut (pecan, cashew, macadamia, transparent, etc) and cream/custard/meringue (lemon, banana, strawberry, etc). Careful when you google cream pie, you will get links to things you aren't expecting.

                            1. My favorite fruit pie: Cherry or blueberry
                              My favorite cream pies: Coconut or chocolate
                              My favorite savory pie: Pizza Rustica/Easter pie

                              Pie is a beautiful thing.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Avalondaughter


                                A quick search netted this CH topic on pies in Julian, California. Ten years ago, while vacationing in San Diego by cohorts and I treked into Julian unaware of what a pie town it is. If you ever find yourself in that area of Cali, be sure to include the town of Julian on your pie sojourn.

                                I lost track of the pie nirvana until this thread.

                              2. I bet there are some South African fruit varities that would make outstanding fruit (sweet) pies. Care to share some desriptions with us?

                                1. Is a quiche a savoury pie? If so, the classic Quiche Lorraine is my favorite. We also do a tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil with a drizzle of olive oil and S&P in the summer time. We also like chili pie - masa crust with leftover homemade chili, onions and cheese. Another Tex-Mex favorite is picadillo pie - masa crust with picadillo as the filling and a layer of Mexican cheese (any mild white cheese that melts will do. The picadillo filling is a ground beef, onion, bell pepper, chiles, raisin and chopped almond mixture simmered to a rather dry consistance.

                                  On the sweet side are custard pies such as buttermilk or Chess. Peach with blackberry or raspberry is my favorite fruit pie. Finally, coconut cream pie and deep-dish pecan pies round out my favorites.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Pampatz

                                    Is a quiche a savoury pie?
                                    It is in my book Pampatz! Egg pies, spinach pie, combinations abound.
                                    Let's just say if it's in a delicious, flaky crust it falls under the pie category for me.

                                    And, vtnewbie I'm so glad you asked the OP a question about SA pie. I too would love to learn.

                                  2. I've been on a Holy Quest to nail the recipe for the lilikoi pie (that's passion-fruit) we've had on Kauai, and I think I've just about got it. A little tart, a little sweet, with a special kind of perfume and a shortbread crust. I haven't tried making it yet because we just do not eat sweets much, so it'll have to be some kind of occasion.

                                    My childhood favorite was the mincemeat pies my grandma made, with lean beef and a good dollop of brandy added to the jarred commercial stuff. I love a good cherry pie, too, but it has to be made with tart cherries. Pecan pie is another item I've pursued making myself, getting away from that wretched Karo and back to proper sugar syrup, following the trail blazed by John Thorne (see "Outlaw Cook").

                                    Quiches and chicken pies have also been on our map a lot; our latter-day avoidance of simple carbs and other sneaky fatteners has made those things a rare treat. I do want to try one of those New England things I've seen involving chicken, ham and oysters, in various combinations of two or even all three. Sounds like fun.

                                    1. My sister makes a mean cheese and onion pie.....i'd take that over any sweet pie any day. But I do like a coconut cream pie, pecan pie (or sugar pie), and I LOVE, and I mean LOVE, ....

                                      butter tarts....

                                      Great...now I want some.

                                      1. ooh a good aussie meat pie (haven't had one in a while i am a celiac and pescatarian) but man they were good!
                                        and i love apple pie it is one of the only desserts i like!

                                        1. I love to make and eat:
                                          Rhubarb Sour Cream
                                          Sour Cherry
                                          Wild Blueberry
                                          All with a streusal topping (to compensate,the fillings are less sweet than they would be with double crust pie). Partially because I don't make my own pie crust, partially because I just love streusal.

                                          1. For sweet pies any kind of berry pie is good, as is cherry. I like most cream pies as well. I like mince on occassion. Apple is probably one of my least favorite - having had it far too often as a child.

                                            Pasties are a favorite for savory pies. I also like Lebanese style spinach pies

                                            1. Savory: Meat Pie, Crust made of Yuca, layered with Queso Fresco =) Yumm

                                              Sweet: Strawberry Pie served with Whipped & Cream Cheese =)

                                              1. I love peanut butter pie with whipped cream on top. Sinfully delicious, it is.

                                                PS--I'm very keen to hear all about that Madagascan pepper pie.

                                                1. Any pie made by my mother, sweet or savory. But if I had to choose:
                                                  My friend Barb's coconut cream pie, it is THE best.

                                                  My mother's after Thanksgiving Turkey pie: Turkey, potatoes, gravy, a little stuffing all nestled between her superb double crust. Slather a little butter on the hot crust and dig in!!

                                                  Lemon meringue and rhubarb in the spring and berry pies or peach in the summer. Apple in the fall.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KristieB

                                                    Totally forgot about coconut cream. Xanadu on a crust. I put it right up there with peanut butter.

                                                  2. Sweet: Kentucky Derby Pie, apple crumble pie, strawberry rhubarb pie.

                                                    Savory: Quiche Lorraine, Scottish meat pie, shepherd's pie

                                                    1. Strawberry rhubarb. And blueberry is the only pie I'll eat with ice cream on top. And I've aaaaaaalways loved custard pie.