Justin Bonello is a South African filmmaker, bush cook and television personality best known for starring in his own cooking and travel show, ‘Cooked’, since 2006. He’s the guy messing about with the braai, burning his fingers on one hand with a beer in the other; or who’s in the kitchen fearlessly experimenting with flavours and ingredients, playing with his food.
Justin’s other books include ‘Cooked in Africa’, ‘Cooked – Out of the Frying Pan’, ‘Cooked – Weekends Away’, ‘Justin Bonello Cooks…for Friends’, ‘The Ultimate Braai Master’ and ‘Roads Less Travelled’.
For this latest culinary adventure, Justin and his crew went on a two year journey into South Africa’s backyard to rediscover the pulse of the Karoo.
Kicking up dust across the semi-desert, Justin became dependent on the legendary hospitality of the people who live there. His mission was simple: to walk in their shoes, to cook with them and to tell the stories of the thirsty land. Catch a glimpse of things you won’t expect in this arid landscape – from the wide-open spaces and endless starry nights, to the extraordinary and rare characters that are the heart and soul of this thirsty land. Experience their incredible hospitality, witness their daily struggle to survive and taste the delicious dishes rooted in the kitchens of yesteryear.
‘Cooked in the Karoo’ will make you want to pack up, get in your car and travel to this painted landscape – a space where you will rediscover the importance of sometimes just sitting in silence and reconnecting with the essential things in life: good food and creating dust-covered memories with great friends.
Pecan Nut Pie
“This delicious, very South African pie is admittedly something I’d never tried to bake, just because it looked like so much hard work. But then came the big bake-off at Tania’s farm, so I decided to give it a go. It was so easy I could kick myself for not trying it sooner.” – Justin Bonello
Ingredients for the pastry:
- 1 cup of cake flour
- A pinch of salt
- Cup of cold butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ tablespoon of castor sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons of iced water
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Ingredients for the filling:
- 3 extra-large eggs
- ¼ cup of melted butter
- Just less than 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 80 ml golden syrup
- ½ cup of pecan nut halves
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
First up, sieve together the flour and salt, then using your fingertips rub the blocks of cold butter into the flour until crumbly. Next, add the castor sugar to the flour and mix the egg yolk, water and lemon juice together to combine with the dry ingredients. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, wrap in cling film and let it chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the dough using a roller (or empty wine bottle), and line a 23 cm loose-bottomed greased pie tin, making sure to line the edges as well. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and blind-bake in the oven for ten minutes.”
While the pastry is in the oven, grab an electronic hand blender, beat the eggs, then, while still beating, add the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla essence and golden syrup. You’ll notice that the mixture becomes foamy, and that’s when it’s ready. Arrange the nuts in the pastry case, and then pour the sweet egg mixture over the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes at 180°C, then allow to cool. Serve with generous dollops of whipped cream or a scoop of real vanilla ice cream.
© Justin Bonello Published by Penguin Books