You can’t get too much of a good thing, so we are running another Sophie Hansen recipe in this edition. We had a great response to her recipe in the last Starfish, and a some of you won a copy of her marvellous new book, In Good Company (Murdoch Books). It features 120 recipes that are simple, tasty and perfect for sharing. Her fish pie, featured here, is about as good as it gets!
I love how this pie is shaped like a giant Easter egg! It’s the perfect dish to serve on Good Friday if eating fish that day is something you observe. But don’t save it for just one day of the year – this pie is wonderful for a picnic, to take to a friend or for an easy meal any day.
The idea for shaping and cutting the pie like this comes from one of my favourite books, Salt and Time by Alissa Timoshkina. And speaking of time, please give yourself plenty to make this, because if you do the filling the night before or at least a few hours ahead and it’s nice and cold when you come to assembly, it’s much easier to handle.
Prep time: 30 mins, plus chilling
Cook time: about 1 hour
2 cups (500 ml) full-cream milk
400 g (14 oz) ling or other firm white fish, pin-boned
300 g (10 ½ oz) salmon or trout, pin-boned
1 ½ Tbsp (30 g) butter
¼ cup (35 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
400 g (14 oz) hot-smoked trout or salmon
1 quantity Sour cream pastry (page 144)
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
½ cup (50 g) flaked almonds, toasted
About 1 cup soft herbs, finely chopped (I use a mixture of parsley, dill and sorrel)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp single (pure) cream
Wash the leek well, then finely chop the white and green parts. Put the green part in a deep-sided frying pan with the milk and a good grinding of black pepper. Heat until just at boiling point. Add the ling and salmon, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Check the fish is just cooked through, then transfer it to a plate.
Strain the milk, discarding the leek. Wipe out the pan and place it over medium–high heat. Add the butter and the white part of the leek and cook for a few minutes or until the leek has softened. Add the flour and cook for a minute or so, stirring well to make a thick paste. Pour in a little of the warm milk and stir until the mixture thickens. Gradually add the remaining milk and cook, stirring, until you have a thick sauce.
Break up the ling, salmon and the smoked trout and gently fold it into the sauce. Season well with salt and pepper and pop it into the fridge to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the pastry according to the recipe, removing a third of the pastry and wrapping it separately. Chill both wrapped pastry portions for 30 minutes.
Roll out the larger pastry portion on a lightly floured surface into a large oval, about 3 mm (⅛ inch) thick. Gently fold the chopped egg, flaked almonds, herbs and lemon zest into the fish mixture. Spread the mixture over the pastry, leaving a 3 cm (1 ¼ inch) border.
Roll out the remaining pastry into a smaller oval and drape it over the top of the filling. Crimp the pastry edges together so you have a dome-shaped pie. Re-roll any pastry trimmings and cut out shapes to decorate the top of your pie. Pop the pie into the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to a few hours until you’re ready to cook it).
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Whisk the egg and cream together, brush it over the pie and sprinkle the pie with a little sea salt. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve the pie hot, warm or at room temperature. Delicious!
Sour Cream Pastry
⅔ cup (160 g) sour cream
1 cup (250 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 cups (300 g) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp sea salt
Put the sour cream, butter, flour and salt in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until just combined. Turn the pastry out onto a work surface and gently bring it together into a disc. Wrap the pastry and pop it into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Images and text from In Good Company by Sophie Hansen; photography by Sophie Hansen. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99