The pastry looked and was flaky.
Having carefully followed St. Delia I was able to produce a steak and pie with a puff pastry top. The remains of the pastry were cut into strips, dusted with mustard powder and grated cheese then baked to make cheese straws. The pie tasted beefy and the ale flavour lay in the gravy.
The answer to the pastry seems to be not playing too much with the initial dough (more like a soggy brick) and then carefully folding and rolling. I think it can be improved upon by adding a little water to the bottom of the oven to help the pockets of air fill with steam and burst open.
So for the pastry try http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/quick-and-easy-flaky-pastry,1109,RC.html
For the filling I used
450 g stewing beef cut into 1 cm cubes (roughly half inch)
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed or chopped finely
2 good beef stock cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
4oz or 125 g mushrooms, peeled if required, washed and sliced.
an ounce of flour or 25 g
1.5 teaspoons mixed herbs
a very good pinch of salt
a very good pinch of black pepper
400ml of good ale
5 ts tomarto puree
Use a big pan to gently fry the onions and garlic
While this is cooking put the flour, half the herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper in a flat dish. Drop the beef cubes in and turn over until the flour is coating the beef.
Turn up the pan heat and add the beef turning frequently so the flour doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
Add the beer and stir well, then add everything else and stir well again. Taste it and if you think the taste is too thin add another stock cube and another pinch of salt and pepper. You have a choice now. Leave it on the top of the cooker and cook gently for a couple of hours or pop in a casseole dish and cook on about 100 degrees (Gas 1/1.5) in the bottom of the oven overnight. This makes a good dinner on it’s own but you can add the pastry top and make it a beef and ale pie
To make the pie put the oven to 220 degrees (blooming hot). Put the pie contents into an ovenproof pie dish and roll out the pastry to about half a cm/quarter inch thick.
Lay over the pie and use a sharp knife to cut the top to fit the pie case. Cook for about half an hour – make sure the top doesn’t burn.