RECIPE: I’ve been admiring decorative pie tops on Instagram and in particular @julie_jonesuk who does these incredibly intricate pastry cases. I thought I’d give it a go. The recipe I chose online from BBC Good Food was full of detailed instructions and very easy to follow.
PREPARATION: I really wanted my beef to be tender, so I did exactly what the recipe said and cooked the filling in the oven in a casserole dish for two hours (by the time I’d added the mushrooms). I went for a simple layout for the pastry for my first attempt. I rolled and cut a base, then rolled and cut a strip to go around the outside, using my finger to smooth the join between the base and the sides. This method ensures you don’t end up with a chunky crust around the bottom edge. I sprinkled the base with semolina before adding the filling. For the top I spaced out rows of pastry strips, then folded back every second one on itself from the middle. I then laid a strip across the rows and unfolded the folded back strips back across the cross laid one. I then folded back every other strip back on themselves and laid a cross strip next to the previous one. I alternated this process to get a cross hatch. Once I’d finished one side, I did the other half of the pie top. I brushed it all with egg wash before topping the cross hatching with cutout shapes, including stars, flowers and circles, brushing between any overlaps with egg wash and brushing the top layer before baking. It took a fairly long time to lay out the top but the pastry didn’t soften too much before I finished.
IMPRESSION: Everything about this pie was perfect. No soggy bottom – the pastry was crispy all round and I couldn’t have asked for a better result. And it looked kind of pretty for my first attempt. The filling was very tasty and had just the right amount of sauce. Yummo!
Recipe from BBC Good Food