Stargazy Pie

To celebrate British Pie Week, why not have a go at this traditional Cornish favourite, Stargazy Pie. Traditionally made using pilchards, the unique feature of the pie  is fish heads, and sometimes tails, protruding up through the crust giving the appearance of gazing skyward.

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Ingredients

Pastry

  • 250g strong flour
  • 65g lard (cold and diced)
  • 65g margarine (cold and diced)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Enough cold water to bind (about 100ml)

Filling

  • 4 fillets smoked mackerel (pin boned and diced) tails reserved for decoration (optional)
  • 1 banana shallot (finely diced)
  • Clove of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon (diced)
  • 50g hogs pudding (diced)
  • 30g butter
  • Splash of rapeseed oil
  • 30g flour
  • 150ml fish stock
  • 50ml rattler cider (if rattler not available, substitute for another brand)
  • 1 egg (boiled and sliced)
  • Chopped dill or fennel
  • 1 egg (beaten for egg wash)

Method

  • To make the pastry mix the fat, salt and flour together until bread crumbs are produced. Gradually add the water to bind, knead until smooth then refrigerate while you make the filling
  • Melt the butter with the oil and sweat the shallot, bacon and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the hogs pudding followed by the flour and cook out so as the flour is not grainy
  • Gradually add the stock followed by the cider until a fairly thick sauce consistency is reached
  • Season and finish with the herbs and the mackerel
  • Roll out the pastry with 4 bases to line a muffin tin (leave a little overhang) and 4 lids to cover
  • Grease the muffin tin with butter and line 4 moulds. Place some of the mixture in each one (do not over fill) then place a couple of slices of egg on each one.
  • Egg wash the edges of the pastry bases, place the lids on top and crimp to seal
  • Place a decent size steam whole in each lid and bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, place half a tail in each steam hole and bake for a further 5 minutes
  • If you would prefer to make one large pie instead of individual ones, substitute the muffin tins for one large 10″ pie dish.