Trout and tarragon pie with Pernod

Valentine Warner's puff pastry fish pie combines baked trout with a creamy tarragon and Pernod sauce
By Valentine Warner
Trout and tarragon pie with Pernod
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 50 g butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slender sticks celery, finely sliced
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 2 x 500 g trout, cleaned
  • dash sunflower oil
  • 3 tbsp Pernod
  • 400 ml milk, warmed
  • 3-4 tbsp double cream
  • 3 sprigs tarragon, leaves finely chopped
  • pinch white pepper
  • drizzle sunflower oil
  • 300 g prepared puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and soften the onion and celery for 3-4 minutes over a low heat before adding the Pernod. Continue cooking for 8-10 minutes without colouring.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a few seconds. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk off the heat - stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring all the time until the sauce is thickened and glossy.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, tarragon and salt and white pepper to taste. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film ' this helps prevent a skin setting on top. Leave on one side to cool.

5. Line a roasting tin with a large sheet of foil and brush with sunflower oil. Put the trout into the tin and cover with a second piece of oiled foil. Scrunch the edges together and shape into a parcel. Bake the fish for 15 minutes, then leave to stand without opening for 20 minutes. The fish should be just cooked and flake easily. Turn the oven heat down to 200C/180C fan/gas6.

6. Peel the skin away from the trout and lift the fish in large pieces from the spine. Discard any skin and bones. Tip any cooking juices from the fish into the white sauce. The sauce should be a thickish coating consistency ' add a spoonful of milk if you think it needs it.

7. Spoon a third of the sauce into a 1.5-litre capacity pie dish and cover with a few pieces of fish; continue layering the sauce and fish ' finishing with a layer of fish.

8. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until around 2cm larger than the pie dish. Brush the edge of the dish with beaten egg and lay the pastry over the filling. Using a sharp knife, trim off any excess pastry and knock up the edges with the back of a knife to create indentations.

9. Using the point of the knife, make a criss-cross pattern across the pastry lid and brush lightly with more beaten egg. Set the pie on a baking tray and bake at 200C/Gas 6 for around 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

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