The Life of Pie

The Life of Pie

The humble pie is everything.

No seriously…well we won’t bore you with the history, but essentially the pie was the medieval equivalent of our modern-day kitchen staple, the baking dish. Which meant it was pretty much used for anything that was cooked in the oven, handy right?

But our ancestors didn’t get it all right. To the Romans the pie was a sign of wealth and often stuffed full of rich meat and fish. Catch is that it was typically served for dessert. Fish pie and custard anyone? Yuck.

But fast-forward to today and whether it’s sweet or savoury, to many of us the pie is a hearty winter warmer, a pub grub classic and the epitome of British cuisine.

So to celebrate #BritishPieWeek we headed to Foxhill Manor to get Head Chef, Richard Thorpe’s step by step guide to the pie-fect steak and red wine pie.

Rich’s Recipe for Steak and Red Wine Pie

This recipe makes four pies (whether you share them is up to you).

Making the filling:

Season the flour with the salt, add the diced beef to the flour and move it around until it’s coated with the flour.

Heat evenly the frying pan with 50g of vegetable oil. Shake off any excess flour from the beef and fry off until golden brown.

Then place the diced beef in a casserole pot and set aside.

Return frying pan to the heat and deglaze with the red wine and reduce by half.

Add the reduced red wine to the casserole pot.

Add 25ml of the vegetable oil back to the frying pan and sweat off the onion garlic and thyme until soft.

Add the tomato purée and cook for 2-3 minutes then add it to the casserole pot

Warm up the beef stock and pour into the casserole pot. Mix well and cover with a lid.

Braise in the oven at 150c for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is tender.

If the sauce is not thick enough at this point pass the liquid and reduce until thick enough.

Making your pastry:

Place the lard and water into a pan and bring up gently on the heat until melted.

Set up a food mixer with the paddle attachment and place the flour and egg into the mixer on a low speed.

Slowly add the melted lard mix.

Increase the speed and beat the dough for 3-4 mins until it cools down slightly.

Remove from bowl and cling film the pastry to keep it warm. Once the pastry goes cold it becomes impossible to work with.

Roll as required.

Putting the pie-ces together:

Butter the pie moulds well.

Weigh 150g of pastry for the base of pie and roll it out.

Push the pastry into the corners and leave the pastry over hanging the side of the mould.

Fill with 180g of your glorious pie filling.

Roll out 50g pastry for the lid so. Push the lid down to create a seal.

Use the back of a small knife to trim around the edge of the pie.

Using the back off the knife prevents you from cutting into the pie and gives you a nice clean finish.

Crimp the pie edge using your finger and thumb.

Make a hole in the middle of the pie with a small knife.

Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg yolk. Remember to be quite liberal with your egg wash, you need a thick layer of egg wash to get a golden brown finish.

Bake at 170c for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the pie from the mould, garnish and get ready to enjoy your hard work.

Rich’s Top Tips

Egg wash the pies well; this will help you achieve a golden glazed pastry.
Cut your parchment paper into two 30cm strips and create a cross in the bottom of the mould. This reduces air bubbles and once cooked makes it easy to remove the pie from its mould for serving.
For the filling I recommend choosing a full bodied and fruity red wine my personal favourite is a Merlot.
After you remove the pastry from the mixer, cling film it to keep it warm. If the pastry goes cold it becomes virtually impossible to work with.


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