Depot's Sugar Pie

. October 17, 2014
Photography by Kieran Scott.
Depot's Sugar Pie

Depot's Sugar Pie is one of Auckland's most iconic desserts. In Al Brown's latest cookbook, "Depot:Biography of a Restaurant", its delicious secret is shared...

"Left forgotten in a tattered Moleskine, this is the ultimate hand-me-down recipe. Gifted to Al during his time in Montreal many years ago, this dish is simple perfection. Consisting of only cream, brown sugar and eggs, this pie is greater than the sum of its parts. Velvety and rich, yet not super-sweet as the name suggests. Serve with lashings of whipped cream." - Kyle Street. 

Short Pastry Base

2½ cups all-purpose flour

225g unsalted butter, roughly chopped

½ cup sugar

¾ cup icing sugar

1 egg

2 egg yolks

Sugar Pie

500g soft brown sugar

1 litre cream

5 whole eggs (large)

short pastry base

To Serve

sugar pie

whipped cream to serve

Serves 6–8

Short Pastry Base: Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Grease a 28cm x 3cm-deep pie dish.

Place the flour, butter and sugars in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a coarse meal consistency. Add the whole egg and pulse again until the dough forms.

Turn out onto a floured bench and, with your hands, work quickly to bring the dough together. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once rested, roll out on a lightly floured bench to 4mm thickness, then carefully lay the pastry over the rolling pin and unfold into the pie dish. Push the pastry into the sides, and patch up any holes or cracks with the trimmings that you have cut from levelling the excess pastry from the top edge. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes.

Once rested, line the inside of the pastry base with baking paper, weighted with rice or something similar, and blind-bake the pie shell for 20 minutes or so until it begins to turn golden around the top edge. Take out of the oven and remove the baking weights and paper.

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and, with a pastry brush, paint the pie shell with the yolks. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Sugar Pie: Preheat the oven to 110ºC–120ºC.

Pour the brown sugar and cream into a suitable-sized saucepan and place on medium heat. Gently heat for 5 minutes until the brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

Take a mixing bowl, add the eggs and whisk to combine. Once the cream has cooled, pour it into the egg mix in a slow steady stream, whisking until incorporated. Strain the batter through a fine sieve, then carefully pour into the pastry base.

Bake for 50 minutes, then check at 5-minute intervals until just set. The pie is cooked when it wobbles like home-made jelly in the centre. Carefully remove from the oven and cool, then refrigerate until required.

To Serve: Cut thick slices of the sugar pie, and serve with a dollop of cream. 


Depot has been one of Auckland's favourite restaurants since the day it opened, and now here is its stunning cookbook. Depot's unpretentious vibe has always reflected Al Brown's attitude towards food: in season, beautifully cooked, to be enjoyed with friends.

Al's philosophy is expanded upon throughout his latest cookbook, which is titled "The biography of a restaurant", aptly describing the central part Depot's people have played in its success. It's infused with an infectious passion, and the generosity with which its signature dishes are comprehensively shared epitomises the attitude that has lent Al's restaurants iconic status - share and share alike. 

You'll want to make and read everything in this impelling book, which is available in all good bookstores from today, priced $70.00. Go in the draw to win one here

Reproduced with permission from Al Brown. Published by Random House NZ. RRP $70.00. Copyright © 2014 text and recipes Al Brown and Kyle Street; photography Kieran Scott.