Delicious tender meat (or maybe, just veg) and a heaping of gravy surrounded by thick, golden pastry: what’s not to love?
A new study from Roy Morgan Research shows that 47.5 per cent of Australians over the age 14 are fond of wolfing down a steaming hot pie from the bakery or corner shop or at the footy.
The country bakery is the most frequented when it comes to pies, with 51 per cent of rural Aussies on board, and 45.6 per cent of city slickers pie-lovers.
South Australia takes the cake (er, pastry?) when it comes to pie devotion, with 52.8 per cent of the state passionate about pies.
SBS spoke with the one of the owners of The Great Australian Pie Competition, the National Baking Industry Association, about the impressive findings.
“The pie is iconic, and most people have many childhood memories around pies: the footy, the beach, the cricket, and of course the local bakery,” an NBIA spokesperson tells SBS Food. “They are a part of everyday life for generations of Australians young and old.”
The NBIA believes that new flavours are a big part of Australia’s growing love of the classic pie.
“The humble plain meat pie is gradually changing, becoming more sophisticated with different fillings including game meats, seafood, and vegetarian options.”
Adrian Apswoude is one of the co-owners at Ka Pies, a bakehouse in Sunshine, Victoria, that has taken out gongs in two of Australia’s pie competitions for their creations.
Last year, Ka Pies won the top prize in Australia’s Best Pie Competition for their Thai Vegetable Curry Pie, and their vegan Chili Con Carne pie won silver in the Great Australian Pie Competition.
Apswoude tells SBS he believes Australians are looking for something different.
“I think consumers these days aren’t just looking for what’s in the hot bain-marie in their local café,” he says.
“Australia is turning into a gourmet marketplace, and we’re looking for flavor.The fact that we won in these competitions with vegan pies shows that things are changing.”
Since their big wins last year, Ka Pies have started expanding and distributing throughout Australia, and have had requests for their pies from America, Sweden and New Zealand.
“We've had people tell us or call us up and say: ‘I don't usually like pies, but I love your pies’,” says Apswoude.
Apswoude says that that the key to finding a great pie is to broaden your horizons.
“Don't be swayed by that one bad pie you had, get out there and try something different.”
Anyone else hungry? We’re off to get a pie. (Find our pie recipe collection here.)
This is the quintessential Australian beef pie, flavoured with beer and Vegemite. You’ll notice I’ve given two options for the meat filling. If you like your pies a little chunky and more rustic, use chuck steak; if you prefer them more like the ones you get at the footy, use minced beef.
“I met an award-winning artisan pie maker named Neil Broomfield, who was inspired by my Vietnamese pho recipe and decided to make a pie version of the traditional beef noodle soup. The result was stunning. The recipe makes more broth than you will need for these pies, but it freezes well and will never go to waste.” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom
This pie owes its heritage to the isolated and rural Italian island of Sardinia where simple, homely dishes are often cooked. You can also make smaller, individual pies and bake them for about 50 minutes instead. The hot-water pastry is lovely and flavoursome and will lift your pie to great heights. If you can’t find duck or goose fat, use 100 g lard with the butter, instead, and the result is nearly as good.