Russian Beef Pie

  • For the dough:
  • 375g strong white bread flour
  • 7g salt
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 7g yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 70ml water
  • 1 tbsp Vodka
  • 75ml full fat milk
  • 30g melted butter
  • 180g unsalted butter
  • For the filling:
  • 550g stewing beef, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 350-400ml beef stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large hard boiled eggs, shelled and finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks, for glazing

For the dough:

1. Put the flour into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.

2. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.

3. Add the egg, water, vodka and milk and mix on a slow speed for 2 minutes until all the ingredients combine and you have a dough.

4. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes until you have a soft, glossy elastic dough.

5. Add the melted butter and mix until it’s incorporated into the dough. Tip the dough into a bowl greased with butter, cover and leave to prove until doubled in size this can take up to 6 hours.

For the filling:

1. Place the beef and diced onion into a saucepan. Add enough stock to just cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 1 ½ hours.

2. After this time the meat should very tender. Drain the meat and onions; you can save the stock to make gravy. Leave to cool.

3. Place the cooled filling into the bowl of a food processor. Season with a little salt and pepper and pulse a couple of times until the filling has the texture of a coarse pate.

4. Tip into a mixing bowl and add the finely chopped boiled egg. Stir so the egg s are evenly distributed. Taste; adjust the seasoning to your liking by adding more salt and pepper if required.

5. Form into a cylinder shape approximately 22cm x 5cm and wrap tightly in cling film. Leave to chill in the fridge.

6. Flatten the butter into a rectangle approximately 27cm x 14cm. Place in the fridge.

7. Tip the dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a rectangle approximately 40cm x 15cm. Place the butter on the dough so it covers the bottom two thirds of the dough. Ensure that the butter is positioned neatly and comes almost to the edges.

8. Fold the exposed dough down over one third of the butter. Now cut off the exposed bit of butter without cutting through the dough. Place it on top of the dough you have just folded down. Fold the bottom half of dough up. Pinch the edges to seal in the butter.

9. Wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to harden.

10. Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured surface with the short end towards you. Roll into a rectangle approximately 40cm x 15cm. Fold up half the dough and fold down the other half so they meet in the middle then fold over so the top half is on top of the other half. This is a book turn.

11. Wrap and chill for an hour. Roll the dough out again and repeat the book turn. Chill for another hour. Repeat twice more so you have 4 book turns in total.

12. Place in the fridge and leave to chill for 8 hours.

13. To assemble the pie, roll out the dough into a rectangle 5mm thick. Cut a rectangle 26cm x 17cm. Save the trimmings to make the decorations. Brush the long edges with egg wash.

14. Unwrap the meat cylinder and sit in the middle of the dough base. Bring the long edges up around the filling so they meet at the top. Starting on top in the centre, pinch the dough together to seal. When you reach the ends tuck them onto the sides of the parcel.

15. Turn the parcel over so the join is now underneath. Place on a heavy duty baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash.

16. Roll the remaining pastry to 3mm thick. Cut out flowers and long strips of dough. Feather the edges of the strips by cutting into the dough at angles but not all the way through creating a fringe effect.

17. Lay the decorations across the surface of the pie. Brush with more egg wash and leave to prove for 30–45 minutes.

18. Heat your oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Bake the pie for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for a further 25-30 minutes.

19. The pastry should be deep golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing. It can be eaten warm or cold.

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