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Stargazy Pie Recipe

Ms Marmite lets us in on her favourite recipe

Published on July 18th 2011.

Stargazy Pie Recipe


Serves 6-8


Shortcrust Pastry

285g (10oz) plain flour,

plus extra for dusting

1 tsp salt

180g (6½oz) butter, cut into

cubes, plus extra for greasing

90ml–120ml (3–4fl oz)

water, iced



4–8 pilchards, sardines

or small herrings, depending

on size when ‘canoed’

(which means they’ve been

gutted and boned but

retained their heads and tails)

Sea salt and freshly

ground pepper

½ onion, peeled and chopped

Handful of flat-leaf parsley

1 lemon, sliced

3 hen’s eggs or 6 quail’s

eggs, hard-boiled, peeled

and chopped into halves or

quarters, plus 1 beaten egg,

for glazing



30g (1oz) butter

1–2 tbsp plain flour

75ml (2½fl oz)

dry white wine

250ml (9fl oz) fish or

vegetable stock (see page 137)

300ml (10½fl oz)

double cream

Handful of chopped

flat-leaf parsley

Sea salt and freshly

ground pepper



Food processor

Large pie dish or

circular oven dish 


1 First, decide whether you want pastry at the top and bottom of your pie. It’s nicest to have both, but bear in mind that the pastry at the bottom will not be crispy like the top, so it can make the whole pie a little stodgier. If you choose not to have any at the bottom, halve the quantities for the pastry ingredients.

2 To make the pastry, sift together the flour and salt and put into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to combine, then gradually add iced water and pulse until the mixture comes together. Remove the pastry from the machine, form into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or more, while you prepare the pie filling.

3 Make the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over a low–medium heat and adding the flour to make a paste (a roux). Cook this for a moment, then whisk in the white wine and stock. Bring the sauce to the boil, continuously stirring or whisking to get rid of lumps. Remove from the heat to add the cream, then boil again before turning down the heat and simmering the sauce until thickened. Add the parsley and allow the sauce to cool.

4 Season inside the cavities of the fish and stuff with onion, parsley and slices of lemon. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF), Gas Mark 4. If using an Aga, prepare the roasting oven.

5 If putting pastry at the bottom, take it from the fridge and divide into three equal parts. Set one piece aside, then combine the other two pieces and roll out into a large disc that will fit your pie dish with plenty hanging down over the sides. Grease the dish with butter, then line with the pastry. Next, place the stuffed fish in the pie dish with the heads sticking out on one side and, if long enough, the tails sticking out on the other side. The bodies of the fish will be encased in the pie. The fish can face in all directions and can sit across each other. (If you’ve chosen not to put pastry at the bottom, simply arrange the fish directly onto the dish.) Fill in the gaps around the fish with the egg chunks, then pour in the sauce.

6 Roll out the remaining pastry to make the lid for the pie. Place it over the fish, cutting slits for the heads and tails to stick through. Where the lid meets the base, press the edges of the pastry together into slightly overlapping wave shapes. Shape any scraps of pastry into crescent-moons or stars and use beaten egg to stick them onto the top of the pie. Brush the whole pie with beaten egg.

7 Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes (if your fish are bigger, probably 40 minutes) until the pastry is golden. Plunge a thermometer or skewer inside the pie; try and push it into the flesh of one of the fish. If it measures 70ºC (160ºF), or the skewer is piping hot when you pull it out, the pie is cooked. If not, return to the oven for a little longer before testing the temperature again. Serve the stargazy pie hot, with new potatoes and a watercress salad.


To read our full interview with Kerstin Rodgers, please click here

Ms Marmite Lover Blog

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