Stargazey Pie is a famous English recipe from Cornwall, so-called because the heads of the fish are supposed to gaze towards the stars! The heads of the fish were kept on so that the rich oil could drain back into the pie. The fish may also be arranged in the pie with their heads sticking through the centre of the pastry. Fresh pilchards are traditionally used in this recipe but as these are not always easy to obtain herrings may be used instead.
1 teaspoon butter
8 medium-sized herrings, cleaned and boned and with the heads left on
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
22- tablespoons prepared mustard
8 oz. Shortcrust Pastry I
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
4 slices streaky bacon, rinds removed and very finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
4 fl. oz. double cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400’F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C). Using the teaspoon of butter, grease a 10-inch pie dish. Set aside.
Place the fish on a work surface and season them, inside and out, with the salt and pepper. Spread a teaspoon of mustard over the inside of each fish. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1-inch larger than the top of the pie dish. With a knife, trim the edges and cut a ½ inch strip around the dough. Dampen the rim of the dish with water and press the dough strip on to the rim. Set aside.
Place the egg slices on the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay the fish over the cggs,<with the tails pointing towards the middle and the heads overlapping the edge of the dish. Sprinkle over the onions, bacon and mixed herbs. Pour over the cream.
With a pastry brush dipped in water, lightly moisten the strip of dough around the rim of the dish.
Using the rolling pin, lift the dough on to the dish. Carefully seal the dough around the fish heads. With a sharp knife, Stargazey Pie is an old English dish from Cornwall. It is traditionally made with pilchards but herrings may be used instead. Serve it with green beans or a mixed salad. cut a fairly large cross in the centre of the dough. With a pastry brush, coat the surface of the dough with the beaten egg. Roll out the dough trimmings and use them to make a decoration for the top of the pie.
Place the pie in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and serve immediately.