Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge the steak pieces in the seasoned flour.
Heat an ovenproof casserole dish over a high heat, add the steak pieces in batches and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown on all sides, stirring regularly. Remove the cooked steak from the dish, transfer to a warm plate and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining steak pieces, then set aside.
Add the shallots, onions and carrots to the emptied casserole and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until just softened.
Add the thyme, bay leaves and tomato purée and stir well to combine.
Add the ale and stir well, scraping any sediment up from the bottom of the casserole using a wooden spoon.
Return the browned steak pieces to the casserole, add the hot stock, stir well and bring the mixture to the boil.
Transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until the beef is tender and the gravy has thickened. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Increase the heat of the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
Divide the beef and gravy mixture among four small ovenproof dishes.
Cut the pastry into four equal pieces, each one big enough to cover the small pie dishes.
Brush a little water around the rim of each small pie dish, then place one piece of pastry over each pie and press the edges to seal the pastry to the dish.
Brush each pie with a little beaten egg, then place the pies in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden-brown and has risen.
To serve, place the small pie dishes onto serving plates and spoon steamed vegetables of your choice alongside.