5 November 2012


Having caught up on season 3 of The Great British Bake-off in the past week, I felt so inspired, that I had to bake yesterday.

The fact that it has been raining copious amounts of water in both liquid and solid form lately pointed me towards pies, so I brought out my pie book from the Hairy Bikers to find something interesting to do. And there is lots there! In fact I made the quick decision to try out a couple of other things while I was at it.

I had a packet of minced beef in the freezer and I'd bought a mixture of mushrooms, because I really fancied mushrooms.

Last week we opened a nice bottle of wine only to establish that it was corked. Of course I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, so I asked Lundulph to seal it and put in the fridge, so I could use it up in cooking.

Finally there were several types of pastry in the fridge that were screaming at me to be used. I'm pretty sure I'd missed the best before date on them, but they seemed OK for use.

The following recipe is not from the pie book, in fact it is nothing more than a glorified Bolognese sauce, but it turned out very nicely indeed.

650 g fresh mushrooms - a pack each of button, chestnut and shiitake
30 g butter
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large onion ~220 g peeled
3 cloves of garlic ~1 tbsp when minced
500 g extra lean beef mince
1 carrot ~130 g peeled
2 tbsp plain flour
600 ml red wine
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp mint
3 tbsp tomato purée
salt and pepper
320 g ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg


  1. Brush and peel the mushrooms, then cut into chunks.
  2. Peel and coarsely dice the onion. Peel the garlic.
  3. Peel and dice the carrot.
  4. Heat up 20 g of the butter and 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and sauté the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated. Season lightly while frying.
  5. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and into the oven proof pie dish and set aside.
  6. Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and when hot, add the onion, carrot and press in the garlic and let fry until the onion goes translucent.
  7. Add the minced beef and stir vigorously to avoid the meat frying into lumps.
  8. Once the meat is browned, sprinkle the flour and stir in well.
  9. When it starts thickening, add the wine, a little at a time so as not to reduce the temperature of the pan too much.
  10. Add the thyme, oregano, mint, tomato purée, salt and pepper and stir in.
  11. Let simmer until the liquid has evaporated, then stir in the mushrooms and transfer everything to the pie dish.
  12. Allow the filling to cool, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  13. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C (or 200 if using fan-assisted oven).
  14. Whisk up the egg with a pinch of salt, take out the pie dish and sparingly brush the edges with the egg wash.
  15. Push in a pie funnel in the middle if you wish.
  16. Cut out strips for the rim, a little wider and place them over the edges, so that there is a little overhang on the inside of the dish rim.
  17. If there is a pie funnel, cut a cross in the middle of the main part of the puff pastry lid. Then brush the strips with more egg wash, then place the main part of the puff pastry over the pie, making sure it sticks to the strips. If not using a pie funnel, cut a few slots in the pie lid to allow steam to come out.
  18. Trim any excess puff pastry and "knock up" the edges by using a small sharp knife by cutting into the edge of the pastry towards the filling, while pressing against with your hand, so the pastry lid doesn't slide off.
  19. If there are any leftovers from the puff pastry, decorate the pie and brush with egg wash.
  20. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the pie lid has puffed up and has a nice golden brown colour and the filling has heated through.

As usual, I made several mistakes here. For starters, I don't have a proper pie dish with a wide rim. Then I didn't allow the pie filling to chill, but flopped the puff pastry over directly, which resulted in the whole thing starting to melt almost immediately, so the knocking up of the edge was not possible. Once in the oven, the edges dripped down the sides of the dish. I really don't know what I was thinking, precisely this happened to one of the contestants of the Great British Bake-Off and it was clearly explained why...


I took it out after 30 minutes, at which point it had not risen at all.


Nevertheless, Lundulph and I put away half of it for dinner. The puff pastry was still fairly crispy, it just didn't puff up.


I had intended to serve with potatoes, but we were both fairly hungry, so just had the pie, which was wonderfully filling.

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