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Beef, Mushroom and Stilton Pie

Introduction & method

I made this particular pie to celebrate Pi Day, which happens on the 14th of March every year. You might be mystified until you see that date written in American format - 3.14, the abbreviated value of the mathematical constant Pi. Or course, you can make this pie for any occasion you like.

Beef, Mushroom and Stilton Pie Recipe

Make the beef and mushroom filling


If you have joined-up beef, like a steak, you'll need to trim off any fat and sinew and then cut the beef into small cubes about 15mm (just over half an inch). If your beef is ready-diced, it's likely that the dice are too big and you'll need to cut them smaller. Peel and chop the onion into quite small bits. Toss the beef cubes in flour and then sear them all over in a hot frying pan with some oil in it. Drain the dice. 
The beef needs to be pre-cooked until tender and you have three options of how to do this - a pressure cooker will do it in 30 minutes, a saucepan on the stovetop will take 3 hours, a slow cooker or crockpot will take 8 hours or overnight. In a pressure cooker or saucepan, add the beef, onion and wine, and add some beef stock to cover it. Cook for the time stated above. While it's cooking, prep the mushrooms - pull the stalks off and trim the bottom end, brush any soil off the caps and quarter them. Sauté them in oil until browned all over. Add them to the cooked beef and onion, along with the thyme, bay leaves and more wine and stock. Cook for about 15 minutes, taste and season if necessary. The filling should be in a nice thick gravy, but not swimming in it. Set aside to cool.

Make the hot water pastry


When you've started making the filling, cut the lard into small chunks. Place the boiling water and lard chunks into a small pan and heat them until the lard has melted. In a mixing bowl, stir the salt into the flour, pour in some of the molten fat and mix well. Add more water and fat until it is all used up. Mix well. If you have a stand mixer or food processor and don't mind creating extra washing up, those will do the job in seconds. Tip the dough out onto your worktop and give it a massage to make sure all the flour is combined. Wrap the dough in plastic film and let it cool down.

Assemble the Pie


Heat your oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan/convection oven, 200°C (392°F) conventional, gas 6. I used a 23cm diameter (9 inches) flan tin with a removable bottom. Take about half of the dough and roll it into a thin disc on a lightly-floured worktop. This will be the lid of the pie so it only needs to be slightly larger than the tin. Set that aside and roll out the remaining dough to a disc that's about 3cm (an inch and a bit) bigger all round than the tin. Liberally sprinkle the inside of the tin with flour, then lay the pastry base into it. Press it well into the sides and then spoon in the filling. Thinly slice the cheese and arrange it in a single layer over the beef. Moisten the rim of the base with water and lay the top pastry over it. Squeeze the top and bottom together between your finger and thumb. Trim off the excess pastry up against the edge of the tin. Crimp the edge if you want, and then glaze the top with 2 egg yolks beaten together with a splash of water. Brush the glaze on thinly so it doesn't pool in dimples in the dough. Bake the pie for 35-40, turning it round halfway through to get it evenly browned.

Notes on Decoration


For my Pi Day Pie, I designed a few Pi-related stamps based around the Greek letter Pi, the numerical value of Pi (3.1415926535897932384626433...), and the date March 14th, 3.14. I 3D-printed these and then used them to emboss the designs into the pastry. To add extra definition to the patterns, I painted inside some of them with a little bit of gravy browning, which I think works extremely well!



The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Beef, Mushroom and Stilton Pie on YouTube.

 
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Ingredients & Info


HOT WATER PASTRY
 450 grams strong white bread flour
 120 grams lard
 150 ml water
 1 tsp salt
FILLING
 450 grams stewing beef
 120 grams stilton cheese
 1 medium onion
 250 grams chestnut mushrooms
 1 glass red wine
 250 ml beef stock
 1 tsp thyme
 2 bay leaves
  salt and pepper to taste
PLUS

Oil for sautéeing. Flour for coating beef, 2 egg yolks to glaze the pie.


UNITS:
Metric
US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 -6
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 4 hours 30 minutes.
Total time: 5 hours.