Sublime Steak & Ale pie – with homemade flaky pastry
It’s a public holiday today in New Zealand. This meant I could indulge in a lazy morning, and then tackle something complex for dinner. Ever since watching the most recent episode of Britain’s Best Home Cook, where one of the contestants made Steak & Guinness pie, using flaky pastry – in a lattice on top – I wanted to eat that. And so today, I made a version of it.
IT WAS AMAZING!
Like I often do, I fused two recipes together for this. The steak & mushroom filling comes from one of Rosie’s recipes from The Londoner blog. I adore the food she prepares, and the diligent way she photographs each step. This recipe is no exception. I challenge you to read the post and then not want to eat the pie… https://www.thelondoner.me/2012/09/rough-tough-gentlemans-pie.html
I didn’t have any Guinness, and so I used a can of Kilkenny, an Irish red ale. It worked just as well. I’ve made this pie filling several times, and it really is forgiving if you don’t have exactly the right ingredients. Another change was that I used rump steak instead of brisket, as it’s much quicker to cook.
I didn’t want to make puff pastry though. Too much effort. Instead, I fell back on an old Delia Smith recipe for Quick Flaky Pastry.
The version I used came from the original Delia Smith’s Cookery Course Book 1, but I think it’s the same. As with my other much-used books, it’s gravy-spattered and flour-stained, but I still love it.
Anyway. This version of flaky pastry is based around grating butter directly into the flour. No pesky rubbing-in as with shortcrust. No tedious folding and rolling as with puff pastry. It was fun to make.
I nearly messed up, though. Ideally you make the pie filling ahead of time, so it has chance to cool before it goes into the pastry shell, but I didn’t have time for that. I was desperate to avoid the dreaded “soggy bottom” of an undercooked pastry base, and so I baked the shell “blind” for around 10 minutes, and that worked perfectly.
Finally, the lattice-work top. This had me wondering. I ended up looking at lattice pies online, and found a simple tutorial. Well. The tutorial looks complicated, but when you start work on it, the rhythm falls into place, and a pattern quickly emerges.
I was delighted how it looked, and very pleased with how it tasted. It only needed the simplest of sides, creamy mashed potatoes and peas. And best of all? There’s half leftover for another night.
I didn’t use all the pastry for the pie, and ended up with a ball slightly larger than my fist, so I’ll do something with that tomorrow. Eccles Cakes are high on my list (thanks again to Delia) 😊
New Zealand is under Lockdown for at least four weeks. This blog intends to avoid the bad news about rising numbers of victims. It focuses instead on food, and the challenges of cooking fresh meals every day – with the ingredients from my larder. A much nicer message 😊