Peel and chop the onions and set aside until required.
If the steak is not cubed, cut it into 3 cm cubes. Cut any larger pieces so that all the pieces are approximately the same size.
Heat a medium sized pot on the stove to high heat. When the pot is hot, add one tablespoon of the oil and brown the steak in three or four batches, adding more oil as needed and taking care not to crowd the pot so that it boils instead of browns.
Don't cook each batch for longer than a minute or it will become tough. Remove each batch of browned steak to a clean bowl and set aside until required.
Add the remaining oil to the pot then add the onions, bay leaves, all spice berries and cloves and cook on medium low for 30 minutes.
When the onions are a caramel color add the grated garlic and cook together for another 2 minutes.
Add the sliced mushrooms caps and cook another 8 minutes. By this time the onions will be a deep brown and the mushrooms will be releasing some of their liquid.
Add the browned steak cubes, salt, crushed pepper corns and water to the pressure cooker or pot.
Lock the lid and cook on high for 3 minutes then reduce the heat back down to medium low. The residual heat will pressurize the cooker and when the pressure valve rises start counting the cooking time for 25 minutes only.
After 25 minutes remove the pot from the heat and allow the pressure cooker to depressurize according to the manufacturers instructions.
Check whether the meat is tender and whether the gravy needs to be reduced further. If it looks too watery put it back on the stove without the lid and allow to reduce on medium high until the gravy is like thick cream or follow the optional step.
Filling - Cooked in a pot with a lid
If cooking long and slow follow the first 8 steps but simmer, partially covered, on low for 75-90 minutes until the meat is tender.
If the liquid is reducing too much then add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water to maintain the gravy. If the gravy is too watery then allow to reduce further or follow the optional step.
For both methods, remove the filling from the heat when done and allow to cool completely before filling the pie.
Optional - for both methods
When the meat is tender and you are at the stage of reducing the gravy, add the bisto gravy powder mixed with 1/2 or 2/3 cup of the hot cooking liquid.
Cook on medium low for another 20 minutes until the gravy is shiny and no longer watery. Check the seasoning as the bisto also adds saltiness.
Let the cooked filling cool completely before using or the pastry will melt.
Assembling the pie
Roll out the pastry for the base of the pie and line the pie dish or baking tin with the pastry.
Add the cooled pepper steak filling and top with the sliced hard boiled eggs.
Roll out the lid of the pie and cover the filling. Crimp the edges of the pie for a decorative finish.
Cut a few holes in the lid to let the steam escape during baking and decorate with pastry leaves.
Place the pie into the freezer for 20 minutes before baking.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees celcius or 180 degrees in a thermofan oven / Gas mark 5 / 390 F. Bake the pie for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 180 degrees celcius, fan 160 / Gas mark 4 / 350 F for a further 50-55 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.
This made one large pie using a baking tin 30 cm long, 23 cm wide and 4 cm high.Use the mushroom caps only and freeze the stems for soups or stocks.The pressure cooker method is quicker and the meat gets tender but not as soft and melting as the longer slower cooking. Check the seasoning before adding the bisto as it adds saltiness as well as thickening the gravy.