Stargazy pie

In Nathan Outlaws recipe, a classic Cornish dish is given a twist with sardines instead of their larger cousins, pilchards
Stargazy pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 30 mins resting
  • Effort: medium


For the pastry

  • 220 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 12 sardines, cleaned and boned
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 rashers streaky smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
  • 1 egg, beaten


1. For the pastry: sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high above the bowl as possible to incorporate as much air as you can into the mixture.

2. Add the butter and use a round-bladed knife to cut it into the flour. After a while, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.

3. Add the egg and mix with a knife until the mixture comes together. Use your hands to gently knead the dough, adding a little water if the mixture is too dry. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl quite easily if not, add a bit more water.

4. Roll the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film (or place in a polythene bag). Leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. On a floured work surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry until it is large enough to line the insides of a pie dish. Cover the pie dish with the pastry, ensuring there is some overhang. Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle big enough to form a lid for the pie and set aside.

6. For the filling: season the insides of the sardines with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7. In a bowl, mix together the onion and parsley and use this mixture to stuff the sardines. Lay the fish in the pie dish so that the tails point towards the centre of the dish and the heads are gazing skywards out of the pie.

8. Heat the butter in a pan until foaming, then fry the bacon and leek together for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Spoon the mixture into the pie dish and add the hard-boiled eggs.

9. Brush the rim of the pastry case with water, then cover with the pastry lid, moulding the pastry around the heads of the sardines so that they appear to peek out of the pastry. Secure the pastry around the rim of the pie dish and brush all over with beaten egg.

10. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.

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