TO MAKE FILLING
Preheat oven to 350° with rack in the center of the oven.
Combine water, baking soda, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl. Add beef chunks and mix until beef is well coated with liquid. Set aside.
In a large heavy Dutch oven set over medium-low heat, cook bacon, stirring often, just until fat is rendered and bacon is still soft with no browning or crisping. Add mushrooms and ¼ cup beef broth and stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are reduced by half in volume, about 10 minutes. Remove lid and add onions, garlic, and thyme and cook slowly until onions become translucent and very soft. Sprinkle flour over onions and mix well; stir constantly until mixture starts to brown. Add ale and remaining ½ cup broth, stirring up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add beef mixture and bring to a simmer, making sure to stir the bottom of your pot, so broth thickens properly.
Try to press all the meat below the liquid in the pan, then cover the pan tightly with foil, and replace the lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir well, cover tightly again with foil and lid, reduce oven to 325°, and cook for 1 hour. Repeat this process until meat easily falls apart when poked with a fork; this may take a couple of hours.
Remove lid and foil at this point, return to 325° oven, and continue cooking to reduce the broth until thick enough to coat the meat well. Reducing broth also will intensify the flavor.
Once the meat stays well coated with sauce, remove pot from oven, cool, and refrigerate until filling is cold.
TO MAKE CRUST
Whisk together egg and sour cream. Set aside.
In bowl of electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend and salt. Add cold butter pieces and mix until flour resembles a coarse meal with pea size crumbs. Add sour cream and egg mixture and mix again until dough comes together around the paddle. Remove from bowl and split dough in half.
Roll one half of dough between a piece of parchment paper and plastic wrap until dough is about ¼-inch thick. Transfer to a sheet pan, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. Repeat with other half of dough. Store rolled dough, for up to three days, until ready to assemble pie.
TO ASSEMBLE PIE
Preheat oven to 400° with rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Take one sheet of chilled dough out of the refrigerator, with plastic side down on a cutting surface. It will become pliable as it warms. Remove top layer of parchment paper. Cut a circle in the dough that is one inch wider all around than the pie dish. Pull off scraps and keep them for patching. Invert circle of dough onto pie dish, so plastic layer is on top.
Once dough is soft enough, gently press dough into pie dish, using the plastic wrap to help you hold things in place. Gently press across bottom first, and up the sides, leaving the top edge alone at this point. Dough should be hanging over the pie shell all the way around. Then gently remove plastic and patch dough where needed.
Remove second sheet of dough to the cutting surface. While it is softening, fill the piecrust in the pan with cold meat filling. Too much liquid in filling will make crust soggy; remove excess with a spoon before filling pie shell. Mound filling high in the center, sloping down towards the crust, making sure to keep crust edge clean.
In a small bowl, mix together egg yolk and milk or water to make egg wash. Use your finger or small brush to apply the egg wash around the edge of the filled pie crust.
Remove parchment paper from second piece of dough. Invert dough and lay it on top of filling, centering it over the meat and bottom crust. Once it is positioned, remove plastic wrap. Trim crust (kitchen scissors are great for this job) as it lays over the pie so that about one inch of dough hangs evenly over the sides. Press top crust edge into bottom crust edge to seal pie. With scissors or a knife trim off excess dough, leaving a thick crust for crimping; crimp around entire crust.
Refrigerate pie to firm top crust enough to easily cut a few slits or air vents in the top. Once slits are cut, brush entire top with egg wash, keeping air vents clear.
Bake in 400° oven for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350° and cook until pie crust is golden brown and gravy is bubbling, about 60 to 70 minutes.
For best flavor, cook and refrigerate filling one day ahead of making the pie. Dough can also be made and rolled up to three days ahead of time, stored well-wrapped in refrigerator.
If you have extra gravy from the filling, don’t throw this deliciousness away! You can drizzle it on the pie pieces later or save for another use.
© Pamela's Products, Inc.