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East London’s Beef and Ale Pie

The perfect accompaniment to their weekly pub quiz night, East London's Beef and Ale Pie serves up the best of British gastronomic fare to Berlin's dinner table.

Image for East London's Beef and Ale Pie
Photo by: Marta Domínguez

Alongside the mini shop selling Marmite, Walkers Crisps and Cadbury’s chocolate among other delights, East London’s weekly pub quiz nights have turned the Kreuzberg restaurant/café/bar (offering catering, as of recently) into a hub for international fans of British food… like German owner and founder herself, Nadine Sauerzapfe.

She and her team of bushy-tailed English-speaking waitstaff and chefs have created a menu proudly placing British gastronomic fare like Bangers and Mash (€9), the classic Fish and Chips (€9.50) and the hangover-curing Full English Breakfast (€10.50) in the spotlight, but with classy added touches. The hearty Beef and Ale Pie (€9.50) is our pick for the day. Tasting best in the company of a side salad and a buttery, creamy mash seasoned just right with salt, pepper and parsley, it is the perfect choice to warm up your weekends.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 600g stewing beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 300g button mushrooms, halved
  • 200 ml dark ale, e.g. Guinness Beef stock
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Frozen puff pastry

For the stew:

1. Using a hot saucepan, fry off the beef until browned. Add the ale and cook for at least 3 hours at a low simmer, adding a bit of water when necessary.

2. In another large pot, fry off all the vegetables in vegetable oil until the onion is brown. Then add the thyme, rosemary and garlic, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the flour to the vegetable pot and cook through for 45 seconds, stirring constantly.

3. Next, pour the beef and ale mixture into the vegetable pot. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon and fill up the pot with beef stock until everything is covered. Bring to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 For the pastry:

1. Place the puff pastry on a clean surface to thaw out. Once thawed, take the dish you’re going to serve your pie in, turn it upside down on top of the pastry and cut a circle of pastry around the rim of the dish.

2. Take a knife and score the pastry in a criss-cross fashion. Brush the pastry with a beaten egg and cook in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

3. Place the pastry on top of the hot stew in the serving dish. Best served with mashed potatoes. 

Tip: The quality of the beef greatly influences the flavour, so purchase a premium cut from a good butcher.

Originally published in Issue #114, March 2013.