PIE ME started as most businesses usually do. Rayana Adams had been making samosas, sausage rolls and pies over the years for her family and friends, eventually expanding into making special orders of items for friends of friends. After the insistence and support of her family, Rayana opened PIE ME, Inc. in October of this year. Rayana’s business continues to grow by word of mouth. As many people are unfamiliar with this cuisine, many other South Africans living locally have found Rayana in search of a taste of home.
PIE ME, Inc. will soon open a storefront in Cary, but for now Rayana is serving up pies from her Cary home. For those of you unfamiliar with these tasty pies, you are in for a treat. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Rayana grew up on these savory snacks that derive their roots from Malay, Indian, and European influences. Commonly eaten as either a snack or as a meal on weekends, Rayana’s pastries are portable, versatile, and delicious.
Growing up, Rayana learned many family recipes and secrets from her grandmothers, but she didn’t hone in on her passion for cooking until later in life. Rayana worked as a bookkeeper for her father’s business and enjoyed meeting new people from across the globe. This relatability is evident now, as her passion for sharing her South African culture is apparent through her stories and products.
I was able to sample every type of samosa, pie and sausage roll, except for the vegetable pie. Although each one tasted distinctly different, the overarching theme of cilantro, chilies and spices is present in some variance in each item. Aside from Rayana’s obvious passion for making and sharing these South African treats, I can’t believe she is making her own puff pastry. Most places buy this ingredient premade as it is such a laborious item to make. Rayana’s dedication to keeping to tradition shows as her puff pastry is so light, flaky and buttery.
To clarify, Rayana made sample size pies for me to try. The pies you order on her site are considerably larger, akin to a pot pie. Her varieties offered include steak, beef and chicken. The steak pie is Rayana’s grandmother’s recipe, which features a blend of steak, potatoes and cardamom. This was my favorite as the cardamom was a nice pop of sweet spice to offset the savory steak and potatoes.
Rayana’s sausage roll is nothing like the things we often see at tailgate parties. I was expecting a regular sausage wrapped in dough, but Rayana’s is exceedingly better than that. The sausage is fresh made from a mix of ground beef, cilantro, onions and chilies encased in homemade puff pastry and baked to a flaky, golden brown. This version is so much better than any “pigs in a blanket” variance I’ve ever eaten.
Rayana offers a wide variety of samosas including beef, chicken, vegetable and cheese and corn. These were all tasty, but the cheese and corn samosa stuck out the most. I was intrigued mostly because I would never think of those two items going well together in a samosa. However, the corn, cheese, cilantro and spices made this seemingly underdog samosa a real standout.
To top it all off (literally and figuratively) the samosas, pies, and sausage rolls are served with this delicious homemade sauce that is a mix between a tomato sauce and chutney. Simmered with red chilies, tomatoes and mustard seeds, it’s delightfully sweet, sour and spicy. This sauce is the perfect condiment to cool down the slight heat from these South African treats.
Rayana foresees her eventual storefront accommodating the growth of her business. The commercial size kitchen will allow her to take in larger orders and offer a few items in a display case up front. In addition to her current offerings of pies, samosas, and sausage rolls, Rayana plans to rotate traditional South African sweets such as koeksister (syrup coated doughnuts) and milk tart (tart with creamy filling topped with cinnamon). It’s started slowly, but it won’t be long before Rayana’s business grows even bigger to spread the taste of South African cuisine throughout the triangle area.
Address: 719 Davenbury Way, Cary, NC 27513
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @