This week is British Pie Week, and who can deny their love of delicious fillings encased in flaky, golden pastry? Taking inspiration fro Nigel Slater, who thoroughly encapsulates British cuisine, this smoked mackerel pie is so. damn. good.
Mackerel is an ingredient with which I have never cooked, as it doesn’t feature much in Australian cuisine, but what a pleasure it was. The texture is sublime; soft and malleable and the flavour, although rather strong, works well with a variety of other ingredients.
I have made lots of pastry in my time, but I usually opt for shortcrust when making savoury dishes, however, I tried my hand at a rough puff, and it was super easy, so I encourage you not to shy away.
Surprisingly time savvy, this recipe despite your initial reaction, is perfect for a mid-week supper. If serving with sides, this will serve 4, or if serving alone, it will serve 2 generously.
The end result is, as my Partner in Crime called it, “a triumph”, or as I then called it, a “pieumph”…
For a delicious beer to pair with this dish, I highly recommend Hatherwood IPA, which can be bought at Lidl for a mere £1.25 a bottle. The light, fruity, hoppy notes cut through the oiliness of the fish and richness of the pastry. Mmmmmm.
- 250g strong flour
- 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
- sprinkle of salt
- 100ml of water
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and add small pieces of the butter. You want the butter to remain in little clumps. When the butter is distributed, combine with the flour to make a rough and lumpy sand.
- Make a well in the centre and add the water. 100ml should be adequate, however you might need a little more. Form into a ball. Careful not to handle it too much as you will melt the butter. Cover in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.
- Roll out into a rectangle approximately 20cm wide by 50cm in length and then take the top third and fold in towards the centre and then bring the bottom third up to make a little parcel. Wrap again and chill for a further 20 minutes.
- This recipe only requires half of the total quantity made, so chop down the middle, ready for later in the recipe. You can freeze the other half, but freeze in its parcel formation so you don’t destroy the layers. Keep refrigerated until ready to roll out.
- 400g smoked mackerel flesh
- 200g crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
- handful tarragon, chopped
- 1 dessertspoon capers, chopped
- lime juice, to season
- pepper and salt, to season
- egg wash, to glaze
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan-forced or 200˚C normal oven.
- If using whole mackerel, pull the flesh off into a large bowl, making sure no bones get in the mixture. Some of the bones can be very fine, so take care.
- Add all of the other ingredients and mix together well. Taste a little to adjust the seasoning.
- Take half the pastry from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to a rectangle about 20cm x 50cm by about 4mm in thickness. Cut down the 50cm side, making two rectangles.
- Pile the filling onto the pastry rectangle, leaving a border of about 1.5cm on all sides. You want the filling to be about 2cm high all over, you may have a little left over, Don’t try to cram it all in, otherwise it will burst.
- Brush the egg glaze around the pastry border and put the other rectangle of pastry on top, and seal carefully to create a parcel. Fork the edges of the pastry package for a bit of decoration, and then make some cuts (but not right through) on the top of the pie diagonally for decoration. Finally, glaze with egg wash.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until a lovely golden colour.