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David Marjoram, of Gusto Pronto based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, loves a pie and provides a delicious recipe for one

I generally dislike this time of year. I hate the prospect of the weather cooling, days shortening and the temperature plummeting in the months ahead. There are, however, one or two little rays of sunshine, keeping my mood buoyant as we head into autumn.

Firstly, our array of produce is at its most abundant. September, I would argue, is the month in which we have the greatest choice of local ingredients. Secondly, at this time of year I start eating richer, more indulgent food. I’m ready to forget the salads for a while and bring on the heartier, comforting plates that we are so good at in the UK and should maybe start taking a bit more pride in.

There are many paths I could head down at this point. I thought about stew and dumplings or maybe my all-time favourite (when cooked well), calves liver and bacon. But really, what beats the humble pie? No, I don’t mean a sloppy casserole with a puff pastry disc thrown on the top, I mean a real, shortcrust pastry (surrounding the filling on all sides) pie!

Early autumn pie
Early autumn pie

Meals at their best are better than the sum of their parts and I don’t think there can be a better example of this than a really well-made pie. For many years, we have featured individual pies regularly on our pub menus and we’ve played with hundreds of different fillings and tweaks to the pastry spec. But we always insist on two things remaining the same - they must always be cooked fresh to order and they must always come with a jug of extra gravy or sauce on the side. Served simply with some buttery mash and a green vegetable, it may just be the perfect pub meal to help ease you into autumn.

On Wednesdays from late September until May, we feature a Pie & Pint offer at The Crown, Hartest. Each week we offer a choice of three different pies with mash and greens, served with a drink for, £15. So Jason, our head chef at The Crown, seemed the obvious man to ask to share his favourite early autumn pie recipe.




250g plain flour

125g cold cubed butter

50g cold water


500g diced chuck

1 medium onion

2 carrots

2 sticks celery

1 pint Brewshed best bitter

2 tablespoons plain flour

For the tins:

20g butter to line the tins

1 egg yolk to glaze

1. Finely chop the onion, carrots and celery and fry in a big pan on a medium heat until translucent. Add the diced beef, a pinch of salt, then turn up the heat and brown the meat, this should take roughly five minutes.

2. Add two tablespoons of plain flour to the onion, carrot, celery and beef mix and cook out to thicken the sauce. Once the flour has been absorbed and no longer looks clumpy, add the best bitter and stir. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and cover with foil - braise in the oven for one hour at 160C.

3.Whilst the pie filling is cooking, make the pastry. Rub together the flour and butter (you can do this in a food processor or with your fingertips), then slowly add in half of the water and incorporate, then add the rest. Form the pastry into a disc and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Remove the pie filling from the oven, check for seasoning and allow it to cool.

Once rested, roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it's the thickness of a pound coin. You can make individual pies or one big pie, but you’ll need to butter the tin first to allow the pie to come out of the mould. Cut a top and a bottom, line the bottom half of the pie tin and push it into the corners, add the pie mix, then using a pastry brush, paint one side of the lid and use the brushed side to stick the lid to the pie base and crimp the edges. Paint the top of the pie pastry with the remaining egg yolk mixture and make a small steam hole in the middle of the pie.

You can keep the pies in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. To cook the pies, preheat the oven to 200C and bake for 25 minutes.

David Marjoram is a well-known part of the Bury St Edmunds hospitality scene. Having spent his life in the hospitality industry he founded Gusto Pronto with wife Roxane in 2008 when they took on The One Bull. Now with five pubs, craft brewery Brewshed and wine shop Vino Gusto, it’s fair to say David is obsessed with all things food, drink and hospitality.

The other pubs in the group are The Beerhouse, in Bury, The Crown at Hartest, The Fox at Bulmer Tye and The Cadogan in Ingham.