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Wendy Hargreaves: Perfect pies for the AFL Grand Final weekend

By WENDY HARGREAVES

The Pies might be out of the AFL finals race, but this weekend is still a fabulous excuse to tackle a pie of the meaty kind.

If you can’t be at the MCG for a luke warm Four ‘N Twenty on Saturday, here are the next best places to find that perfect blend of pastry that golden and crunchy, but still holds together to the end, with a rich filling chock full of your favourite protein.

TOOBOORAC PIES + BEER

143 Elgin Street, Carlton

Tooboorac Hotel’s day-trip-worth pies are now sold in the city, finding a funky new home in a former Carlton scrapyard. Weighing at least 350g, these hefty pies start at $8.50 and they’re worth every bite, with light-as-a-feather pastry and tasty fillings. The chunky beef is slow-cooked with the Tooboorac pub’s golden ale, giving it a rich, sweet flavour. Also try the succulent bourbon-marinated rabbit rambler.

WONDERPOP + DELI

18 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Not enough carbs in your life? Maybe a lasagne pie will fix what ails ya, or a compact pie floater with the meat and mushy peas inside the pastry. Make sure you leave room for a side of banana/custard pancake pie. Chef and baker Raymond Capaldi has a cult following for his Wonderpop and Deli pies (from $6.50), with good reason. There’s a perfect balance of pastry to filling, and flavour to boot.

PIE THIEF

297 Barkly Street, Footscray

When you can’t choose at this fabulous pie shop, never fear. All of Pie Thief’s goodies are baked in party pie format, and you can order a party-pie tasting paddle of four flavours for $12. Get all the classic flavours, plus specials like nacho (chilli con carne, cheese and Doritos, topped with sour cream and pickled jalapenos). All the pastry is made in-house, with a light and flaky top (and this means they also bake a top class vanilla slice), and they serve hot or cold Milo. Pie Thief opened in June in a former electrical repairs shop on Barkly Street.

GUSTO BAKERY

285 Napier Street, Strathmore; 139 Station St, Fairfield; 19 Hall St, Moonee Ponds

If you’re looking for a great vegetarian pie, head to one of Gusto’s bakers for a curried pumpkin, feta & spinach pie. This tasty pastry recently won Best Vegetarian Pie in Australia in the hotly-contested Baking Association of Australia competition.

CANDIED BAKERY

81A Hudsons Road, Spotswood

This American-inspired bakery is famous for its super-sweet banoffee and pecan pies, but it also bakes classic beef pies with all the good bits (along with a Tex-Mex black bean and curried haloumi version that’s much better than it sounds).

AND OUT OF TOWN…

DEANS MARSH STORE 

1419 Birregurra-Deans Marsh Road, Deans Marsh, 03 5236 3305  

The old corner shop makes fresh pies daily, with classic flavours like beef and red wine. Great spot to stop on the back road to the Great Ocean Road.

ROLLING PIN 

12 Park Lane, Ocean Grove, 5256 1517 + 40 Hesse St, Queenscliff, 03 5258 1533 

Rolling Pin’s award-winning Jumbo Chunky Pie is a scrumptious combination of slow-cooked steak and beef mince with just-right pastry.

COUNTRY COB 

130-132 Mollison Street, Kyneton, 03 5422 1801 

Winner of Australia’s best pie – the caramelised pork and pepper pie beat 1700 other pies from 345 bakeries nationwide.

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