Steak and Mushroom Pie

This dish has been one of those ideas that I have wanted to be able to make for years, but each time I attempted a version of it, it was horribly disappointing.  Raw crust, soupy filling, bland flavor, I experienced all of the problems trying to make this dish work. I made a treacle tart for the first time earlier this week, and that recipe used a crust ratio of 2:1 flour to butter, so I decided to try out that ratio and see what happened. They also blind baked their crust, and egg washed it, so I decided to give that a go too.  At long last, I have unlocked the meat pie achievement for a pie lives up to every one of my hopes, dreams and aspirations for this dish.  I mean, look at it!

No runny filling, the crust is sturdy, yet not cardboardy or tough.

 

 

Since this has been a ten year search for this method, I am going to be sure to save this for future pie purposes.  Most of this recipe will be focused on the construction methods-the specific filling and flavor profile is your call, but what makes this work is the crust method and the filling consistency.

 

Ingredients

For crust (it’s in metric, because that’s what I used for this.   Feel free to convert as needed):

  • 226g butter (two sticks, cold)
  • 50 g shortening
  • 550g AP flour
  • Big pinch salt
  • Ice water
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

For filling (or use a very thick stew of your choice):

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2.5 lbs beef roast, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup peas
  • 2 tbsp butter or bacon drippings
  • 4 tbsp flour (plus more, to thicken)
  • Herbs, salt, pepper and garlic, as needed
  • Stock, as needed

Method

Prepare the filling. Toss the beef in the flour, season as desired.  Melt butter in large skillet, and brown beef.  Add onions, saute until translucent. Add carrots and mushrooms.  Season again (this will be a theme).  You need enough liquid in here to cook the carrots, but you don’t want it runny.  The mushrooms and beef should give off enough so you don’t need to add stock, but if it’s really dry at this stage, add stock (or wine or beer).  Cover and simmer 1 hour.  Add peas, adjust seasoning.   Cook another 30 minutes. Remove lid, check thickness.  If you can’t make a pile of the filling on one side of the pan and have it stay there, it’s not thick enough.  Make a flour and cold water (or cold stock) slurry, and thicken up your stew until it’s as thick as possible.  You won’t get a ton of thickening while it bakes, so now is the time to hit this consistency.  Once the stew is thickened, and the flavors are as you like them, let the filling cool slightly.

While your filling cooks, make your crust.  Cut butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add salt, and slowly add water until the mixture holds together.  Wrap in plastic and stash in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (this can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray 9″ deep dish pie pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Take crust out of fridge, and use 2/3rds of it for the bottom crust.   Roll crust out to at least 1/4″ thick (thicker is better-you need the structural support).  Place crust into pan, dock bottom and sides.  Line crust bottom with parchment and use pie weights.  Blind bake crust for 15-20 minutes.  Scramble egg with 1 tbsp water. Remove from oven, remove weights and parchment, and brush with egg wash. Bake another 5 minutes.  Roll remaining 1/3rd of the crust out for the top crust.

Fill blind baked crust with your stew until it’s level with the top of the dish.  Brush edges with egg wash, and place top crust on pie, gently pressing the edge closed.  Brush top crust with egg wash, and make vent slits.  Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.  Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

At this point, I am now planning all of the different kinds of pies I can make with this method.  It would make a fantastic crust for chicken pot pie, so long as the filling is thick enough.

 

Cherry Pie

Chris’ favorite pie is pumpkin.  Without question, if I offer to make a pumpkin pie, he is on board with that idea.  His second favorite is cherry pie.   I always had reservations making a cherry pie, because most of the time, cherries weren’t in season, pitting cherries is a pain anyway, and the only other available option was the bright red canned cherry pie filling.  Also, most of the other fruit pies I have made end up being fruit soups.  Not anymore. We have started going to Sam’s Club regularly for some basics, and while browsing their freezer section one time, I saw huge bags of frozen sweet cherries.  Thinking in terms of smoothies, I grabbed a bag, and then promptly forgot about it in the freezer for 4 months.  Oops. Eventually, I found the cherry pie recipe here.  I decided to make it for Pi day, and wow.  We both loved the results. It has a very straightforward cherry fruit flavor, and is not nearly as cloyingly sweet as most of the canned fillings.  You also get more fruit, which is always nice in a fruit pie.  Unfortunately, the first time I made it I didn’t remember to get a photo of it for the blog.  So I made it again today.  Now, I cheated and used store-bought pie crust, but if you have a fantastic pie crust recipe, feel free to use that.

IMG_3483

Ingredients

Pie crust (enough for 1 double crust pie)

48 oz frozen dark sweet cherries (if you can find tart cherries, that would be better, but those are hard to find here)

3/4 cup sugar (a little less if you want a less sweet pie, down to 1/2 cup, or more if you’re using tart cherries-up to 1 cup)

5 tbsp corn starch (may need a little more, depending on how juicy your cherries are) (tapioca can be used as well, just use 1 tbsp less than the corn starch)

Pinch of salt

Splash of vanilla (optional)

1 tbsp butter

1 egg, for egg wash

Method

Prepare your pie crusts according to your recipe, or buy them.  Set them aside while you mix the cherries (still frozen is fine) with the sugar, salt, vanilla and cornstarch.  It will look something like this.

Mmm...crunchy.

Mmm…crunchy.

Set the bowl out for an hour and let the cherries thaw and soak into the starch.  If you’re impatient (like I am), then pull out a medium saucepan, pour the whole kit and caboodle into that and bring to a simmer.  It will start out looking cloudy

Foggy liquid

Foggy liquid

Once is comes up to a simmer, let it simmer gently for 5 minutes or so.  It should thicken and clear, looking something like this.

Steamy, but clearer.

Steamy, but clearer.

Let it cool while you deal with the crust.  Preheat your oven to 425 and roll out your bottom crust.  This is enough filling for a deep dish 9″ pie pan, so plan accordingly.  Once you have your bottom crust in place, pour in the filling and dot the top of the filling with the broken apart butter.   Top the pie with your second crust (I like lattice, but you can use a full crust if you like, just remember to leave some vent holes).  Brush the entire crust with egg wash, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remember to put a tray under the pie pan-it may drip a little bit.  After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 and bake another half hour.  The filling should be bubbling gently.  Remove and let cool for several hours, until fully set and at room temperature.

Mmmmmmm. Pie.

Mmmmmmm. Pie.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, if you must, or just enjoy a piece unadorned.   At some point, I am going to try this same method with a blueberry pie, or a peach and blueberry pie. When I do that, I will report any positive results here.