June 29, 2017







Serves 2




For the Pie Crust


1¼ cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp (114g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. very cold water


1 egg


For the Beef & Ale filling


2 sticks of celery 

2 carrots 

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion

Olive oil 

Bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, bay leaves & parsley

500 g free range, diced stewing beef 

500 ml ale or stout 

1 heaped tablespoon flour 

1x 400 g can diced tomatoes





For the Pie Crust


Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix briefly to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and blitz to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas. Pulse in the cold water on low speed just until the dough comes together. 


Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  A great plus to this pie dough, it can be frozen for up to 2 months, so if you happen to stumble upon some tart apples or juicy cherries you could pull together a beautiful homemade tart, effortlessly.


For the Beef & Ale filling


Preheat the oven to 180ºC.


Roughly chop the celery, then peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the carrots, slice lengthways and roughly chop.




 Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole pan on a medium heat, add all the vegetables and fry for 10 minutes, until slightly caramelised. 



Add the beef and flour, then pour in the ale and tomatoes.   



Give it a good stir, then season with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper.  Add your bouquet garni (A bouquet garni is a bundle of aromatic herbs - use rosemary, thyme, bay leaves & parsley in this stew, alternatively Woolworths sell ready made bouquet garni's here).



Bring to the boil then put the lid on and place in the oven for 3 hours, or until the meat falls apart easily.  Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking.   Check the seasoning, adjust if necessary and remove the bouquet garni before adding to the pie dish.


Now allow your pie filling to cool to room temperature - you don't want to put nice cold pastry onto hot filling, it will melt the pastry and will be difficult to work with.  It will also hinder a nice crispy pastry forming, as the butter would have softened.


To Assemble 


Increase your oven temperature to 200ºC.




Remove the pastry from the refrigerator.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, cut the pastry to the size of your pie dish with about 3cm edge.  Cut out a hole in the centre of your pastry - this is for your pie funnel (a pie funnel allows the steam to escape the pie, as to not bubble the pastry). If you don't have a pie funnel, use a metal piping nozzle!




Make some egg wash. Beat 1 egg with a fork with a little cold water.  Use a pastry brush & lightly egg wash the rim of your pie dish.  This will help your pastry stick to the dish.   Crimp the edges of your pastry & decorate your pie as desired..have fun, but be sure to use egg wash to stick your pastry creations onto the pie lid. 



Finally gently egg wash the entire pie crust and place in a hot oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.


Serve warm with buttery sweet potato mash & chargrilled tender stem - a good glass of red, wouldn't hurt either.






This recipe came about from rifling through the memoirs of the time I spent living in London.  I would often make a beef & ale stew for the family I cooked for, that was such winner and I wanted to share something that you could keep in your recipe folder, knowing it was foolproof and a the perfect goto winter warmer.  After discovering the most amazing pie crust recipe, I put the two and tow together and this recipe was born.  The pastry is beautiful, flaky and rich, the filling flavourful and the perfect consistency for a pie filling.  I was in Knysna while making this dish, so naturally used the local famous Mitchell's Breweries offering - they had a great Ale available and worked perfectly for the filling.  If you are a family of 4, or extra hungry double the recipe and you are all set.  Happy Cooking!





Photos by Timothy Bowles

Styling & Editing by Megan Kate Swan



Find the printable version of the recipe here.


Source: Adapted from Jamie Oliver and Williams & Sonoma 


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