In the recipe for the beef and mushroom pie, I've opted for a shortcrust pastry. To solve the problem of the base going soggy, brush it first with egg white and refrigerate for 10 minutes before putting in the filling - it works a treat.
700g gravy or chuck beef
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 large onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 heaped tbsp flour
500ml red wine
1 sprig rosemary
1 small piece orange rind
1 bay leaf
15g dried porcini mushrooms (optional), soaked in 1 cup water
400g mushrooms, sliced
270g cold butter
4-5 tbsp cold water
1 egg, separated
For the filling
Cut beef into 4cm cubes. Heat a heavy-based pan with two tablespoons of oil and fry the beef until brown all over. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a casserole pot with the remaining oil and cook the onion and garlic until quite brown, season with salt and pepper and push to one side. Add the butter and flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add the beef, red wine, rosemary, orange rind, bay leaf and porcini mushrooms and liquid. Stir well, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for five more minutes, then leave to cool.
For the pastry
Take the butter out of the fridge half an hour before using.
Put the flour on the kitchen bench; chop the butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the flour. Lightly rub the butter into the flour, then make a well in the middle and pour in four tablespoons of the water. Quickly and lightly work the flour and butter together using the heels of your hands by smearing the mixture across the bench - it will come together in lumpy bits. Add a little extra water if the pastry is too dry. Don't overwork this pastry; lightly bring it together - it will look a little speckled - wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Take a 23-26cm round pie dish and grease with a little butter.
Roll out half the pastry with a little flour and line the bottom of the dish. Beat the egg white with a fork and brush over the pastry. Return to the fridge for 10 minutes. This will seal the pastry and prevent sogginess.
Pour the mixture into the pie case and trim the edges 2cm from the filling.
Roll out the remaining pastry to about half a centimetre and lay on top of the pie. Cut a slit in the middle to allow steam to escape.
Beat the yolk with a tablespoon of water and brush over the top of the pastry. Bake about 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and serve.