For the Bake Off’s pastry week, Andrew was ecstatic as he knew it meant we’d probably end up with some kind of pie for dinner. As much as I love to be creative with my Bake Off challenges and try new things, when you have a boyfriend who doesn’t really like sweet food, you have to stick to certain basics! And beef and beer is a good mix for Andrew, so I reviewed loads of recipes, took my favourites from each, and made this steak and ale pie with suet pastry case. Not only was Andrew a fan, but Ioan was particularly taken with the suet pastry!
So steak comes first on the list, and I bought beef shin from the supermarket. Sliced normal onions plus drained pickled onions also made an appearance, as I love the crunchiness of the pickled onions in a pie and stew. Usually I pack out pies with carrots and other veg, but I kept it simple for this pie and just used celery and the onions, plus I made a thick gravy with some flour, dark ale and stock.Steak and ale pie with suet crust is my #GBBO pastry week contribution. Pie perfection! Click To Tweet
I made the pie filling the day before I was going to eat the pie, as the mixture needs to be cool when it’s added to the pie crust. Make the suet pastry with flour, suet and salt, mixed with water. Dumplings are one of Andrew’s favourite foods, so I am used to baking with suet, but I wasn’t sure if it would make a good top and bottom crust for the pie. But it was fabulously tasty – you could definitely taste beef in the pastry and it was rich and delicious with a lovely crumbly texture. It was very rich though, so sensible portions are advised!
Steak and ale pie with suet pastry case – makes 1 large and 1 medium pie
- For the pie filling – 1kg beef shin, 2 onions, 2 stalks celery, 1 jar pickled silver skin onions, 2 beef oxo cubes, 1tbsp plain flour, 500ml dark ale, 1 large sprig thyme, 1tbsp vegetable oil, salt and pepper
- For the suet pastry – 400g self raising flour, 200g suet, pinch of salt, cold water, 1 beaten egg
Cut the beef into large bite sized chunks and fry in vegetable oil (I use a large saucepan which I will cook the pie filling in, but do the frying in batches so the meat browns rather than steams).
Once browned, remove from the oil and set aside. In the same beefy oil, gently fry sliced onions and chopped celery until soft.
Return the beef to the pain and stir in the flour until everything is coated, then add the bottle of ale, stirring until everything is combined.
Add the pickled onions, crumbed beed stock cubes and thyme, and cook the beef on a low heat for at least two hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart if you break it up. Cooking the beef for longer will do no harm.
Season to taste, and leave it to cool, or ideally overnight. Remember to remove the twiggy sprigs of thyme before filling your pie!
When you are ready to bake the pie, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
For the pastry simply mix the suet, flour and salt together, and then slowly add cold water to the mixture until combined, but not too sticky.
I used 2/3 of the pastry for one pie, and 1/3 for the other. With the 2/3 portion, reserve a quarter of it for the lid of the pie and use the rest for the base and sides – roll it out very thinly and line a greased pie dish (I like to use a loose-bottomed tin as it helps to get the pie out later).
Fill with your steak filling, and top with the pie lid. Repeat for your other pie. Brush the tops of both pies with beaten egg, then poke a hole through the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape when you bake it (I used a little ceramic bird specifically made for this purpose, which looks cool!).
Bake the pies for one hour until crisp and golden on top. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Is my steak and ale pie with suet crust a sign of pie perfection for you, or do you have another favourite pie?