Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Beef Pie with Lancashire Cheese Crust

Summer's over, bring on pie season I say. I want pastry and I want it golden and filled with hot meat and gravy. I want to sit in front of the fire with a blanket over my knees and watch the footy with a cold beer in one hand and a hot pie in the other. It's not winter yet, but I'll be ready when it comes.

Beef Pie with Lancashire Cheese Crust
Serves 4

For the Pastry:
225g plain flour
75g salted butter, chilled and diced
75g Lancashire cheese (if you can't get Lancashire cheese, then use Feta)
1 medium free-range egg yolk
4–6 tablespoons ice-cold water

For the Filling:
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly diced
2 peeled carrots, roughly diced
1 stick of celery,  roughly diced
250g lean minced beef
4 tablespoons ale or good beef stock
3 tablespoons  tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Beaten egg, to glaze

You'll also need:
20 x 15cm enamel deep pie dish

For the Pastry:
Put the flour and diced butter into the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Crumble the cheese into the bowl and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and 4 tablespoons of ice-cold water and run the machine until the mixture comes together to form a ball of dough, adding more water, a teaspoon at a time, as necessary, through the feed tube. Remove from the bowl and cut off a third of the dough (for the lid). Wrap both pieces of dough in clingfilm and chill while making the filling.

For the Filling:
Put the onions, carrots and celery into a food processor and whiz until you have a fine mush. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the vegetables gently until soft but not coloured. Add the minced beef and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until browned. Turn the heat down to low and cook gently, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened - about 10 mins. Add the ale or stock, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste, stir well, then simmer gently until the meat is tender and the mixture is thick and just slightly moist rather than runny - about 10 mins. If necessary turn up the heat and stir constantly if the filling seems a bit wet. Taste and adjust the seasoning - the mixture should be nicely savoury, so add more pepper or Worcestershire sauce as necessary. Leave to cool completely.

When ready to assemble, roll out the large portion of pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a rectangle big enough to the line the base and sides of your pie dish. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and gently drape it over the dish. Carefully press the pastry on to the base and sides of the dish, pressing out any bubbles of air. If necessary patch up any holes with scraps of pastry.

Brush the pastry on the rim of the dish with beaten egg. Spoon the cold filling into the dish.

Roll out the second portion of pastry to a rectangle about 20 x 15cm to make the lid. Using the rolling pin as a support, lift the pastry over the dish and gently press it on to the dampened rim to seal firmly.

Crimp or decorate the rim with your fingers or a pastry crimper. Leave to rest for 10 mins. Meanwhile heat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Brush the pie with beaten egg to glaze, make a small steam hole in the centre using the tip of a sharp knife, and bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 mins, until the pastry is a good golden brown. Serve hot, as soon as possible.


  1. Thanks for linking this in to Food on Friday. Cheers

  2. Your pie sounds delicious, especially the crust! Sounds wonderful with all the cheese!

  3. Thanks Maria - the crust is really the star of the show.

  4. Did my turkey pie inspire you? Yours looks so much better than mine!!!!