Beautiful pie crust

This is what every steak & ale/beef & onion pie dreams about growing up to become. The short ribs are slowly cooked until fall-apart tender with plenty of caramelized shallots and beer. The pastry is buttery, flakey and tender. (It also freezes well so definitely make several batches of this for a rainy day).

Beautiful pie crust


Stephen La Rosa
This is what every steak & ale/beef & onion pie dreams about growing up to become. The short ribs are slowly cooked until fall-apart tender with plenty of caramelized shallots and beer. The pastry is buttery, flakey and tender. (It also freezes well so definitely make several batches of this for a rainy day).
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings



  • 500 g flour, sifted
  • 250 g butter, cubed
  • 15 g salt
  • 15 g sugar
  • 140 ml milk


  • 1.5 kg beef short ribs
  • 8 shallots, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 500 ml lager
  • 1 lt chicken stock
  • 30 g corn flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt, pepper and red wine vinegar


  • Combine the cold butter with your flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter has been broken down into pea-sized pieces.
    500 g flour, 250 g butter, 15 g salt, 15 g sugar
  • Add almost all of your milk to the dough and knead until it comes together. Add the remaining milk as necessary while kneading to form a workable dough.
    140 ml milk
  • Once the dough has just come together, split into two separate pieces and shape each piece into a disk. Wrap the disk with cling film and store it in the fridge for 20 minutes.


  • (This can be done up to 3 days before making the pies)
  • Preheat your oven to 150C
  • Cut the shallots in half through the root and peel. Peel and thinly slice your garlic.
    8 shallots
  • Bundle your bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and star anise together using a piece of kitchen twine.
    8 sprigs of thyme, 3 sprigs of rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 1 star anise pod
  • Cut the beef short rib into large pieces, using the bones as a guide. (do not remove the bones)
    1.5 kg beef short ribs
  • Place a heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven over high heat. Once hot, add a splash of neutral oil. Season the beef with salt and brown well for at least 3-4 minutes on each side before turning them over. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Once all the beef has been browned and removed from the pan deglaze with 150ml of beer and scrape off any browned bits. Allow the beer to reduce slightly and pour over the reserved beef.
    500 ml lager
  • Wipe out the bottom of the pan and return to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of neutral oil and place the shallots in, flat sides down. Season lightly with salt and allow the shallots to char for 5 minutes. Once lightly blackened, Remove from the pan and reduce the heat to low.
    8 shallots
  • Add your sliced garlic and cook for 2 minutes while stirring or until lightly coloured. Add the beef to the pan along with the shallots. Add the bundle of herbs, the rest of the beer and all of the chicken stock. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
    1 lt chicken stock
  • Top up with water if necessary so that the beef is mostly submerged in liquid. Place the pot into the preheated oven and allow it to cook for 3 hours.
  • Check on the pot every hour to check the level of liquid in the pot as well as to give things a stir and a taste for good measure.
  • Once the beef pulls away from the bone with a fork and the liquid has mostly reduced, remove the pot from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature
  • Once the beef has come to room temperature, remove the bones from the braise and shred the meat using a fork or your hands.
  • Place the pot onto the stove over medium heat until the liquid has mostly reduced.
  • Combine 30ml of corn starch with 30 ml of water and add to the pot. Bring the contents of the pot up to a boil and stir until the mixture has thickened.
    30 g corn flour
  • Reduce the temperature to low and season to taste with salt, pepper and a few drops of red wine vinegar.
    Salt, pepper and red wine vinegar
  • Reserve your meat mixture in the fridge until it is completely cool.


  • Take one of your pastry disks and roll it out into a circle roughly ½ cm thick. Place your pie pan upside down onto the pastry and cut a circle just wider than the circumference of your pie pan.
  • Store the disk in the fridge on a flat tray lined with baking paper and covered in cling film. Save the dough cuttings.
  • Roll the other disk out to the same thickness and lay the pastry into your pie pan.
    Laying pastry in pie dish
  • Shape a small ball of your previously saved dough cuttings and lightly flour it. Use this to gently press the pastry into the edges of the pie pan.
  • Cut the excess pastry hanging over the lip of the pie pan. Shape into a ball and reserve the excess dough in the fridge, wrapped in cling film. This can be used to add decoration to your finished pie. The dough can rest in the fridge like this anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight as long as it remains covered.
    Trimming excess pastry from pie

To FInish

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Place your meat mixture into the base of your pie and flatten lightly. Top with the other disk of dough and crimp the edges shut using a fork or cover the edges with pastry decoration.
    Filling and designing meat pie
  • Cut slits into the top of the dough or create a hole in the middle of the pie for steam to escape.
  • Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and brush the mixture over the surface of the pie, getting in all of the folds in the dough. Optionally sprinkle with finishing salt for texture.
    1 egg
  • Place into a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, checking and rotating the pie halfway through cooking. If spots are colouring too quickly before others, tent them loosely with foil while the rest of the pie cooks.


Letting your dough rest and cool will give it an amazing texture, preserve the buttery flakiness and hold its shape better as it cooks, giving you a more defined look.
Keyword ale, beef, onion, Pie, shortcrust

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