Ok, so I have mentioned before that I am on a mission to be a master baker and this recipe is my next step; as this is my first attempt at puff pastry. I have made short crust pastry until I turned blue in the face so I had no excuse but to try the next challenge, and Oh My, I was so chuffed with the outcome. I had some left over steak from my steak dish the other day (mainly the fatty ends that needed a long cook in order to melt and release the flavour), and with it being the pie season I thought, ‘what better opportunity to try by hand and the good old puff pastry’.
I have to say when I put the pastry in the oven I was a little nervous but it turned out so good we just went back for seconds and thirds! I’m not going to lie though, this does take time. I made my meat filling the night before and the moment I can home from work I was on-it with the pastry. The good thing is there are plenty of breaks to chill the pastry so in-between where I fitted in doing my blog, putting away a weeks worth of washing (thank you Sam) and uploading photo’s of our recent Cotswold weekend away with friends onto facebook; so it’s not like the evening was devoted to the pie.
There is however nothing wrong with using ready-made, you can guarantee the quality and shorten the time, but trust me, nothing beats the pride and the satisfaction of making puff pastry yourself. I also had plenty left over so check out my left over blog for recipe ideas of what to do with your left overs
For the steak filling
– 3 shallotts – quartered
– 500g beef steak
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 150g button mushrooms – halved
– 1 large carrot – sliced
– 150ml port
– 700ml beef stock
– 1 tbsp plain flour
– 1 tsp dried thyme
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tsp marmite
– 1 x 440g tin baked beans
For the Puff Pastry
– 225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
– ½ tsp fine salt
– 250g unsalted chilled butter – cut into small cubes
– 150ml ice-cold water
– 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze
If you can make the filling the day before then it will be even tastier after all the flavours have soaked overnight.
Head the oven to 150’C
Start by frying the shallots and beef steak in the olive oil in a casserole dish until brown.
Add the carrots for another 2 minutes just to fry off.
Add the port and simmer until reduces by half and then stir in the flour so there are no lumps
Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and then cover and cook in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours – stirring occasionally
For the pastry, sift the flour and the salt into a large mixing bowl, then put into the fridge for a few minutes to chill.
Meanwhile, cut the butter into small cubes.
Using a round-bladed knife or dessert spoon, stir the butter into the bowl of flour so that is is well coated
Pour in the water and work quickly to bring the mixture together into a rough dough (don’t worry about any lumps.
Gather the dough in the bowl using one hand, and then turn it onto the work surface. Squash the dough into a fat sausage shape without kneading. Wrap in cling film then for 15 minutes.
Lightly flour the work surface and the pastry and roll out the pastry in one direction until it’s about 1cm thick and three times as long as it is wide.
Straighten up the sides with your hands now and again, and try to keep the top and bottom edges as square as possible.
Fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down, to make a block about 15x15cm. Is it important to keep the corners nice and square.
Turn the dough so that it would open up like a book and press the edges of the pastry together with the rolling pin.
Roll out and fold the pastry again, repeating this four times in all to make a smooth dough, with buttery streaks here and there.
If the pastry feels greasy at any point, or starts to spring back when as you roll, then cover and chill it for 10 minutes before continuing.
Chill the finished pastry for at least an hour
Preheat the oven to 200C
Flour the work surface, and then roll out the pastry to the thickness of two £1 coins and wide enough to cover a family-size pie dish with some excess.
Brush the edge of the pie dish with the beaten egg.
Lift the pastry on top of the pie, laying the pastry over a rolling pin to lift it. Press down gently to seal.
Make small incisions about 1cm apart and 1cm long around the edge of the pie
Cut a couple of slits in the centre of the pie to form a cross that will release steam.
Brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg – taking care to avoid getting egg on the edges of the pastry as it will stick the layers together.
Chill for 10 minutes until the pastry is firm.
Bake for 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden-brown and puffed all over.