The Best Steak and Ale Pie

Baking The Best Steak and Ale PieThe Best Steak and Ale PieBaking The Best Steak and Ale PieThe Best Steak and Ale Pie

This is Lizzie enjoying cooking! It’s the first time she’s made shortcrust pastry and , with lots of confidence she perfected the rubbing-in method (with a little coaching and extra tips from me (Penny)!

Here is the recipe:



  • 2 tablespoons beef dripping (fat) or olive oil
  • 1 large white onion roughly chopped
  • 60 grams traditionally farmed or organic braising steak, hung for at least 3 weeks and comprising: skirt, chuck, rump, shin etc and then cubed (about an inch square)
  • 1 tablespoon plain white flour  (more if you like a very thick gravy)
  • 1 tablespoon HP Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • I Organic beef stock cube
  • Black pepper
  • I bottle or can of best brown ale, organic if poss. (beer). Lager will do.


Fry the onion in the dripping or oil ‘til golden and soft. Add the meat and fry ‘til browned all over. Sprinkle in the flour. Add the sauces, pepper and stock cube and stir well. Add the beer ‘til the meat is just covered. Stir well ‘til slightly thickened. If it looks too thick add some more beer.

Cook for at least 2 preferably 3 hours in a slow oven. Adjust seasoning and thickness after cooking depending on how runny you like your gravy and bearing in mind it’s got another 20/30 mins to cook under the pastry -  and liquid evaporates.

Halfway through making the pastry, put the cooked filling into a pie dish to cool a little before putting the pastry on.



  • 250 grams plain white flour, locally produced if poss.
  • Salt to your taste
  • 125 grams unsalted butter at room temperature, not too hard or too runny. The best way to achieve cool but soft butter is by putting it in a jug of water at 28 degrees Celsius for 5/10 mins.
  • 2–3 tablespoons of water

Pastry likes cool conditions best so, even if you’re short of time and feel hot and flustered, just run your hands under a cool tap, tell yourself your doing this because you want to, take a few deep breaths and crack on.

Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Put the lump of soft but cool butter in the middle, then, simply and lightly using your delicate, cool finger tips only, pick up bits of butter and flour and rub the one into the other. It’s a bit tacky at first but do it little by little. Lift your fingers up out of the bowl each time you rub. As it falls back into the bowl it collects air and makes your pastry deliciously light.

When it’s all finished and resembles the classic ‘breadcrumbs’ look, sprinkle over the water a spoon at a time and use the blade of a round ended butter or dinner knife to cut across the mixture quickly, turning the bowl as you go – like a very slow motion blade in a processor. Gradually, this will persuade the whole lot to stick together. When it feels like it’s just on the edge of doing so, put the knife down and gather it all together into a big ball with your cool fingertips: gently but firmly.

Remove your meat and gravy from the oven to cool a little. Put it into a nice enamel pie dish, with a pie funnel, if you have such a thing, to stop the pastry sinking into the middle of the dish.

If you have time, cool the pastry in the fridge for 30 mins or so. If not don’t worry. If you do and when it’s time to roll it out, remove from the fridge and let it slacken for 10 mins before rolling out.

Roll the pastry out on a floured board or marble. Do not turn it over. Only roll it on one side. Do not ever stretch it. It hates it. Be gentle at all times.

Wet/brush the edges of the pie dish (with meat and gravy already in it) with a mixture of egg and dash of cold water for sticking. Put pastry lid on top, trimming the edges and making the whole thing look pretty (add leaves like Lizzie did or whatever you fancy – plain is good too!).

Cook for 20/30 mins. at 200-220 degrees C. More if the filling is from cold.

2 Responses to “The Best Steak and Ale Pie”

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