Beef-Steak Pie

1 to 1½ hour.


From a couple to three pounds of rump-steak will be sufficient for a good family pie. It should be well kept though perfectly sweet, for in no form can tainted meat be more offensive than when it is enclosed in paste. Trim off the coarse skin, and part of the fat should there be much of it (many eaters dislike it altogether in pies, and when this is the case every morsel should be carefully cut away). If the beef should not appear very tender, it may be gently beaten with a paste-roller until the fibre is broken, then divided into slices half as large as the hand, and laid into a dish bordered with paste. It should be seasoned with salt and pepper, or cayenne, and sufficient water poured in to make the gravy, and keep the meat moist. Lay on the cover, and be careful always to brush the edge in every part with egg or cold water, then join it securely to the pasta which is round the rim, trim both off close to the dish, pass the point of the knife through the middle of the cover, lay some slight roll or ornament of paste round it, and decorate the border of the pie in any of the usual modes, which are too common to require description. Send the pie to a well-heated, but not fierce oven for about an hour and twenty minutes. To make a richer beef-steak pie put bearded oysters in alternate layers with the meat, add their strained liquor to a little good gravy in which the beards may be simmered for a few minutes to give it further flavour, and make a light puff paste for the crust. Some eaters like it seasoned with a small portion of minced onion or eschalot when the oysters are omitted. Mushrooms improve all meat-pies. Veal pies may be made by this receipt, or by the second of those which follow. Slices of lean ham, or parboiled ox-tongue, may be added to them.