Rebecca Tosdevin was a new face this year at the 7th Annual KCRW Good Food Pie Contest for her Steak and Guinness Pie, which won Best in Show and first place in the Savory category. Always curious to learn the stories of our awardees and the inspiration that drives their creations, we invited Rebecca to the KCRW studios to talk pie.
According to Rebecca, her big win last week came as a complete surprise because she hasn’t had any professional culinary school experience. Her Steak and Guinness Pie is a family recipe that her British mother makes, which simply calls for good quality vegetables and stew meat, so she used chuck steak from Belcampo. For the crust, she added lard sourced from Santa Monica butcher Peads & Barnetts.
Then, inspired by the surface-designs of the pies at at Huckleberry, where Rebecca worked in savories till just three weeks ago (she’s starting now in the bakery section, naturally), Rebecca used a cookie cutter and layered the shapes across the surface. From Huckleberry’s front of house staff to barista to blue ribbon winner at the 2015 KCRW Good Food Pie Contest, we’ll definitely be curious to see what she comes up with next year!
For now, those of you who’d like to taste Rebecca’s award-winning Steak and Guinness Pie can do so because Huckleberry will be serving it all next week, so go try a slice!
Huckleberry: 1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA (310-451-2311)
Rebecca Tosdevin’s Best in Show Steak & Guinness Pie
Yield = 1 pie
Steak & Guinness Stew Filling Ingredients
2 lbs grass-fed, lean chuck stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup flour, to sprinkle over the beef once browned
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly diced
1 leek, sliced
½ cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1–2 bottles of Guinness or stout
2 tbsp beef “Better than Bouillon” or really tasty beef stock—just enough liquid to cover meat, if needed
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, coarsely ground to season
Olive oil or butter, for browning
For the filling: In a heavy-bottomed pot, brown your meat. Don’t overcrowd the pan, so do it in batches. Move the browned meat to one side of pot, and dust with a little bit of flour. Then, in the same pot, soften your onions, leeks and herbs with a little olive oil or butter. Add the rest of your vegetables, together with a pinch of salt and pepper. After a few minutes, mix the meat back into the other ingredients in the pot, along with the Guinness and enough stock to just cover the meat. Taste and season accordingly. Cover your pan and allow to simmer very gently for up to 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. The key is to use very low heat. Also, the flavor of the meat gets even tastier with time so it’ll be even better if you prepare the stew filling a day in advance.
Whole Wheat Flaky Pie Crust Dough Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup of ice water
2/3 cup rye flour
½ cup cold butter
4 tbsp cornmeal
2 tbsp sharp cheddar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
½ cup leaf lard
For the pie crust: Combine all of your dry ingredients in a food processor and blitz until incorporated. Next, add roughly cubed butter and rendered lard. Both must be very cold. Blitz for a few seconds until butter is pea-sized. At this point, add ice water very, very quickly. Stop the food processor as soon as you have added all the ice water.
Flip out all the ingredients onto a good, clean work surface. Now with the palm of your hand, push the mixture away from you. This will be create the flaky layers in your dough. Even once all the flour is incorporated, you should still see pea-sized pieces of butter throughout the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour, or until ready to use.
To assemble: Once chilled, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness and lay it in a deep pie dish. Add your stew filling. (I added my filling while it was still hot. I recommend doing so, or even warming it thoroughly after it’s been in the refrigerator all night.
For the pie crust top, use a cookie cutter of your choice and lay down a nice overlapping layer of pie dough shapes over the stew filling. All that’s left is then to beat one egg to egg wash the surface of your pie dough! This will make the pastry brown very nicely.
Bake at 375ºF for about 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until you have a really beautiful golden crust.