A pecan nut pie from Justin Bonello

Justin Bonello has done it again. He heard the Great Karoo calling, packed up his crew and their lust for adventure and headed off for a rich and dusty journey into the heart of South Africa’s farm lands. His latest page turner not only holds vistas of starry skies, curious sheep and humbling stories, but fantastically authentic recipes too. Hungry for a slice of the journey? Try Justin Bonello’s pecan nut pie fresh off the pages of Cooked in the Karoo.

Justin Bonello - Cooked in the Karoo HR

‘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!’

Pecan Nut


For the pastry

1 cup of cake flour
A pinch of salt
⅓ cup of cold butter, cut into small cubes
½ Tbsp of castor sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp of iced water
1 tsp of lemon juice

For the filling

3 extra-large eggs
¼ cup of melted butter
Just less than 1 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
80ml golden syrup
½ cup of pecan nut halves
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve


1. First up, sieve together the flour and salt, then using your fingertips rub the blocks of cold butter into the flour until crumbly.
2. 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.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4. Roll out the dough using a roller (or empty wine bottle), and line a 23cm 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.