Beef & Mushroom Pies

Some cooler weather and a glut of David Blackmore's wagyu beef shin in our fridge has caused a dramatic increase in slow-cooked beef dishes at the Garden Club. With some excess mushrooms at hand, I thought it would be a good idea to cook up a beef and mushroom braise knowing that hubby would be eager to launch the first festival of the pie for 2008.

For this auspicious event we decided to be more diligent than usual and use differing pastries for the case and lid - short and puff respectively. And with that in mind, we then thought we'd go the (mostly) whole hog and get the pastry everyone's raving about...

Having done the legwork, I passed the reins over to hubby - a pie fiend of English origin and owner of a Sunbeam Pie Maker (an admission that has been met with incredulity by other bloggers domiciled in Australia and USA). As we don't even own a microwave, this may seem like a strange household appliance, but it was given to him (by me) on our first Christmas - I thought it would really tickle him, and seven and a half years on I think that's what keeps him with me!

After some lacklustre pies reviewed over at PiEcon, these pies packed with natural flavour were a refreshing change.

The pie maker has its limitations, the first being what it does with the pastry. Unlike an oven the pie maker has some level of contact with the surface of the pie, thus the lid does not develop the proper puffy flakiness it should. The case is less impeded, although blind baking in a pie shell would certainly give a better result. Hubby noted that the case "shrinks" as he fills it and I explain the blind baking principle (with the help of the back of the packet) to him.

The second frustration with the pie maker is the size of the mould - it's about 2/3 of the average pie. This makes it small for a chunky filling and as you can see, the moisture seems to be squeezed out of the fillings.

To address this, we chucked the mixture into the food processor, resulting in a filling with less texture, but a vastly more portable pie.


purple goddess said...

Most excellent, grocer!!

Those pies of yours surely $h!t all over some of the ones I've reviewed for PIEcon!!

After blind baking, maybe you could finish off the pie in the oven, to get the puff to, erm, puff??

Wagyu and braised mushies are a VAST improvement over my last "beef and mushroom pie".. boiled mince and what I suspect was a can of homebrand "mushrooms in butter sauce".

t h e - g o b b l e r said...

Grocer-The combination sounds xlnt!
I am suspcicious though of your pie maker! Cant beat an old pie or cake tin or an enamelled tin plate for the mould.
Can I ask, did you use any thickener, corn starch, roux, breadcrumb or panada?
I also have a good recipe for sour cream rough puff.
get 500g hard flour & 250g butter. Rub in well. Add enough sour cream to 'gather' the pastry together(about 200g should be enough) do not overwork the gluten(remember it will come together when rolling)
Wrap & let it rest for 1/2 hour before rolling out.
Blind bake a tart case, let it cool before removing from the mould.
Place the case on a baking tray before filling with mix(sweet or savoury both work well)
Then cover with the same pastry, eggwash & cook until browned.
I remove from the mould because a larger pie can be very hard to manage when cooked & still warm.

pies are the food of gods said...

great article and well written.

why don't the people like pie makers? i think it's champion.

c'mon - it's a machine that makes pies! utopia.

Ed said...

That shows that aesthete Ruhlman an with wagyu to boot! I must admit all this pie talk has got me into pie mode and was going to make fake pies using the shop bought puff pastry I stick on top until I read the Gobblers recipe. I also have the urge to make a proper steak 'n kidney pudding with whole oysters in. Does that count as a pie? Yes, I'm the pie making machine in this house.

grocer said...

Hello everyone and thanks for your comments.
PG all good ideas but then (a) defeats the pie maker and (b) means I would end up doing it.

Gobbler - hello and welcome back. Haven't seen you here in a while. The pie maker is certainly a gimmick, but it's a bit of weekend afternoon fun.
I can't recall, but I may have tossed the wagyu in seasoned flour before browning but no other thickener used - just cooked and cooked and cooked.
I like the sound of the rough puff - it's bound to get a look-in soon!

AS for you Ed, I have no idea about the steak and kidney pudding - not in my repertoire. Let alone adding oysters!!! Is that some kind of sick english thing?

The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

Just divine...My husband is going to totally love these...when I'm back from Sydney that is. He loves pies and couldn't eat too many of them.

Thanks for your comments and for finding me. You have some great food here. I'm throwing you on the blogroll when I do an overhaul, which is soon.

Also, I will be picking your brain once we breeze into town. So happy to know you now!!