I've been trying to make shortcurst pastry and found it something of a challenge to get it right. Then someone put me onto Maggie Beer's easy sour cream pastry recipe. It's simple and excellent. [NOTE: Maggie didn't say to 'blind bake' the bottom layer of dough so I didn't but I will next time.]
The filling recipe comes from the Bourke Street Bakery":The Collection Cookbook. It's a fantastic book. I've varied the recipe slightly.
40 ml olive oil
150g onions, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
Saute the above for 5 mins.
Add 150g carrots and 150g celery, peeled and diced, and cook for another 5 mins.
Add the following and cook for another 5 mins.
400g can diced tomato
55g malt vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
Add 900g cubed beef (They use beef cheeks. I used gravy beef, trimmed of fat.)
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, skimming and stirring every 20 mins or so. The meat needs to be tender but still have texture.
Remove beef pieces from mixture. Strain mixture and return liquid to pan. Simmer and reduce beef liquid by about one-third.
[OPTION: This is what I added. Put 1 cup red wine in a small saucepan with a few porcini mushrooms. Boil and reduce liquid by half. Remove mushrooms and add wine to beef liquid.]
Add 1 tsp potato flour mixed with a bit of water (If you add the wine you may need 2 tsp.) Stir until it thickens. Then return beef to liquid and season with salt and pepper. [OPTION: Add several chopped, sauted mushrooms and 1 tbsp green peppercorns.]
Pour meat mixture into another container to cool, stirring occasionally as it does.
Line pie dish or dishes with pastry. Add meat mixture and top with pastry. [Bourke St uses shortcrust on the bottom and puff pastry on the top, but I used Maggie Beeer's recipe for both.) Pinch the top and bottom edges of the pastry together.
Cut an X in the middle of the pastry. Brush with whisked egg..
Bake at 220C for 20 mins and then 180C for another 5-10 mins.