This beef pie recipe has been adapted from food writer Hannah Glasse’s cookbook, published in 1747. The recipe has been modernised without losing its traditional flair.
- 1.5kg British braising beef, diced
- 50g plain flour
- 60g unsalted butter
- 2 onions, sliced
- 400g button mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 400ml good quality fresh beef stock (you may need more – see tip)
- 200ml ale
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
For the pastry
- 220g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 120g suet
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten, for the glaze
- Steamed seasonal green veg
To make the filling, dust the beef with the flour and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large deep flameproof casserole over a medium heat with 20g of the butter. Once melted, add half the beef, then turn up the heat and move the beef around to brown it. Once it has some colour, remove it from the pan and set aside. Repeat with another 20g butter and the remaining beef.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan over a medium heat, melt the remaining butter, then fry the onions for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes. Add them to the casserole along with all the browned beef. Add the stock and ale to the casserole and bring up to the boil. Turn the heat to low, add the thyme, tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then simmer gently on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the beef is tender .
Meanwhile, make the pastry. In a large bowl, mix the flour and suet together. Using your fingertips, rub the suet into the flour until it has the texture of breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt with a table knife, add the whole egg and 60ml cold water. Bring the pastry together, then knead lightly for about 20 seconds.
Shape the pastry into a thick disc, then wrap in cling film and chill until ready to assemble the pie. When the beef is tender, remove from the heat and leave to cool completely .
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas. Pour the cooled filling into a 2 litre pie dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut off a few thin strips of pastry. Wet the edges of the dish with water, then press the strips over the entire rim.
Put a pie funnel into the centre of the dish (if you don’t have one you can cut a steam hole in the pastry lid before baking), then brush the pastry rim with water and top the dish with the large piece of pastry. Cut a small cross and push the funnel through the pastry, if using.
Trim off the excess pastry then, using a fork or your fingers, crimp the edge of the pastry and decorate the pie with any off-cuts, if you like. Brush the top with egg yolk.
Bake the pie on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, covering with foil for the last 5-10 minutes if it’s browning too much. Serve the pie immediately alongside steamed and buttered seasonal greens.
- Stir the beef occasionally while it cooks. If it starts to dry out, add a little more stock.
- Make the beef filling up to 3 days ahead and chill, covered with cling film. Make the pastry up to 3 days ahead and chill, also wrapped in cling film.
You can assemble the pie (to the end of step 7), then freeze, well wrapped in cling film and foil, for up to 1 month. Cook from frozen, adding an extra 20 minutes to the cooking time. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.