TODAY, March 5, marks the annual celebration of St Piran – the patron saint of Cornwall associated with the popular emblem of the white and black flag.
It is said that he floated to Cornwall from Ireland on a millstone, then struck a black rock with his staff to reveal veins of tin.
So what better way to mark this day of tradition than with a genuine Cornish star pie – like the one provided here by Trewithen Dairy?
This iconic Cornish dish is the perfect centerpiece for your dinner table to wow your guests. Fish are designed to “star gaze”, but don’t worry, you don’t have to eat the heads.
Legend has it that this pie was created after a brave fisherman, Tom Bawcock, ventured into stormy seas to fish when the people of Mousehole faced starvation. He returned triumphantly with an abundance of seven types of fish, which were cooked in a pie and served to the community. Recipe below.
FOR 6 PERSONS
50g Dairy Salted Butter
1 leek, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 slices of smoked bacon
1 tablespoon plain flour
50ml dry cider
250ml fish stock
250 ml whole dairy milk
2 tablespoons Cornish clotted cream
Pinch of saffron
Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
3 Eggs – 2 hard-boiled and chopped, 1 beaten
1 packet of puff pastry
6 mackerels, butterfly-shaped with heads left intact (backbone and tail removed)
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, before sweating the shallots, leeks and bacon bits for about 10 minutes.
3. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes. Slowly pour in the cider and the fish stock, stirring well. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the milk and clotted cream and continue to stir until a thick sauce forms.
4. Add saffron and seasoning. Gently stir in the parsley and hard-boiled eggs.
5. Roll out the dough until it is about the thickness of a coin.
6. Fill a deep pie dish with half the sauce, then carefully arrange the fish on it so that the heads stick out from the top. Pour over the rest of the sauce.
7. Carefully drape the pastry over the pie pan, then cut slits in the top for the fish heads to fit through. Gently push each head through the slits until it rests securely on the pie pan. Fold the dough over the sides of the pie pan.
8. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg to glaze the top, before baking in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a cream tea with clotted cream and jam – putting the jam first of course.