I love pies. Especially those with flaky puff pastry. When I was younger there was a bake shop called Greggs. They had the best pies ever and it was pocket friendly. Their chicken pasties were creamy and just the right amount of gelatinous gloop in it. I don't know how they did it; and don't get me started on their steak and kidney pie. Every time my mom and I would go into town for shopping, we HAD to have a Gregg's pie.
So yes, that's my love of pie. Last week sometime a friend of mine asked for fish pie and I was thrilled. I have a failsafe recipe and when I am feeling lazy, I often top it with an airy buttery mash. This time through I made it with a flaky shortcrust pastry.
500 grams fish fillet cut into 2 inch cubes ( tilapia, snapper or nile perch will do)
1 small head of broccoli, washed and separated into florets
1 small head of cauliflower, washes and separated into florets
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
4 sprigs fresh curly leaf parsley
500 grams of shortcrust or puff pastry (keep it in the fridge until its ready to use. You can buy this in any good supermarket)
*a tutorial will be up soon showing how to make a shortcrust flaky pastry
For the bechamel
50 grams of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 litre of milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs mixed herbs
Always start with the sauce. Melt your butter on a medium heat. When its melted and bubbling, add your flour gradually until it forms a paste. To this paste, gradually add your milk. Make sure you constantly whisk the mixture. Do not stop whisking. You will notice the sauce gradually lightening as you keep adding the milk. The right consistency should be like a porridge. When you get this consistency, add your pepper and mixed herbs and salt to taste.
NB: Don't worry if lumps initially form, these will smooth out as long as you keep whisking the mixture on a medium heat.
Next step is your fish. Lightly coat your fish pieces in a mix of flour, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix up all your vegetables and the fish and then put the mix into your baking dish. Pour your white sauce into the dish with the mix. Set this aside and preheat your oven to 180.
In the meantime, take out your pastry from the fridge and roll it out according to the shape of your dish. Make sure it is at least 1/2 inch thick and no less. Drape this loosely over your dish so that it is not stretched over the dish (rather have it sit heavily over the dish). Leave about a 1 inch allowance at the edges and trim off the excess pastry. Get creative with decorating the edges but the easiest way is to gently push in the pastry with your forefinger forming a 'w' pattern. You can also cut cute shapes from the excess pastry and put them on the pie. Poke through the pastry a bout 6 times with a fork (this makes sure that excess air is let out and your pastry doesn't crack while cooking)
Brush the pastry with your beaten egg and put to bake in the oven for 1 hour or until your pastry has a lovely glossy golden brown colour. Serve piping hot with a side of love and hugs :-)