Baking British

If you enjoy baking, pies, and crust (or any of the three) I highly suggest getting your hands on Haedrich’s Dinner Pies. I’m continually impressed by the results of these recipes. Last night I ventured not only to one of the recipes which I had yet to try, but also made my first substitution in what Haedrich calls for.

The recipe for Sausage & Guinness Pot Pie is simple and straight forward, resulting in a rich, saucy, and hearty dish. I dared to replace the bratwursts with steak as was requested by my family and was not disappointed. I hesitated a few times whether or not to mix and match some of the books recipes that DO utilize steak, but chose to follow like a studious pupil regardless and hope for the best.

When the filling ingredients gave the option for olive oil or vegetable oil, I opted for olive oil. While the vegetable oil might affect the flavor less, I always prefer olive oil and perhaps the effect was a benefit. The reason I feel as though the recipes I’ve tried so far have a bit of a British feel to them (at least the beef based ones), is the call for tomato paste, Heinz chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. I know that these ingredients are not limited to the UK, but I have my own associations influencing that perception. Back to the pie…

A few points I want to note:

  • When calling for 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to the filling, I used closer to 4 to reach a slightly thicker consistency. The change was not drastic, but before it had been a little bit soupier.
  • I use the 100% Fat Free Beef Broth from Swanson. I did not use one that has less sodium. I make this a point as Haedrich mentions to add salt and pepper to taste, from 1/4 perhaps even up to 1/2 teaspoon of salt depending on the saltines of the beef broth. I added 1/4 teaspoon and found that to be plenty. I could have probably gotten away with not adding any at all. This also may be due to using steak instead of bratwursts.
  • The individual pie dishes that I’m using are porcelain ramekins from Sur La Table. Last night for five of us, I used one of the 10 oz ramekins and four of the 18 oz ramekins. One of the “go-to-pie doughs” was just enough for a decent crust for all five, though the diameter of these is a slight bit larger than 5 inches. The recipe states if they are not larger than 5 inches wide you may be able to get six out of a single batch of dough. Definitely feasible.)
  • I noticed that compared to the other pot pies I have made so far, he did not call for an egg wash. Therefore, I did not apply an egg wash though I was tempted to. I have a Viking Professional oven that is beyond temperamental and I frequently have to oscillate between bake and convection bake because the oven likes to unlight itself. Because of this, I was worried the crust MIGHT get a little too browned or burnt rather than ideally gold and bubbly. When on convection, it did brown a little too quickly, but returning to regular bake kept it from burning.

The result was incredible, if I do say so myself. The filling was so delicious that no matter how stuffed we all were, everyone wanted seconds. To quote my mom, the flavor reminded her of a beef bourguignon. The Guinness was not so prominent that you really tasted the stout, but had a flavor almost as if I’d used wine. It is extremely rich, hearty, and surprisingly sweet (we think due to my use of a large white onion). The crust is not quite as light and flaky as I was hoping or expecting, but delicious and perfect for utilizing as a spoon as my sister did. I’m interested in attempting this recipe again with sausage, but I’m definitely keeping this as a go to just as I did!! YUM!!


Once the spoons came out, it was all over. The problem with these ramekins, is simply that you cannot lick them clean. We tried.



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