It’s midweek, and judging by the freezing temperatures in London (it’s mid-March, and it hailed briefly this morning…), it can only mean one thing.
TIME FOR PIE.
Together, we put together this fish pie for dinner. It’s not super-quick, but definitely rewarding when you plunge your spoon through the flaky crust into the steaming filling. Pies can be made either singularly as a whole pie for sharing, or in individual servings. We decided to go for the latter to take the pretty ramekins out of the cupboard for a little spin (and also, it’s nice to have one ALL. to. yourself. Hurhur.)
Here’s our take on mini fish pies, topped with a homemade rough puff pastry. Readymade frozen puff pastry works just as well (please feel free to use it!), but we didn’t have any on hand. Generally, puff pastry can be divided into two categories- classic puff, using a lamination method to fold the butter in between dough layers (trickier and more time consuming, but produces a fluffier puff), and rough puff pastry, which combines the butter into the mixture right from the start, then is folded. In my opinion, rough puff works adequately, requires less time, and is easier. Making pastry may sound daunting! But all it takes is a little practice, a gentle touch, and a fridge.
Rough Puff Pastry
adapted from Gizzi Erskine’s Cheat’s Flaky Pastry
- 112g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 85g unsalted butter
- 60ml cold water
- Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.
- Working as quickly as you can, cut the butter into small cubes and toss in the flour. (Gizzi recommends slightly freezing the butter beforehand and then grating it with a large-holed grater into the flour. Either way works.)
- Using your fingertips, or a fork, or a pastry cutter (nifty tool that cuts butter into the flour), rub the butter into the flour until it’s mostly combined. Medium sized pieces of butter in the mixture are perfectly fine.
- Add the cold water and press the flour and butter together until it forms a rough ball. If it seems a little dry at first, don’t hasten to add more water. Give it a couple more presses and the moisture should distribute evenly.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to form a long rectangle. Fold this rectangle into thirds (like folding a letter to put into an envelope).
- Then, turn the pastry 90 degrees and roll it out to form a long rectangle similar to the first one. Fold it into thirds again.
- Wrap with cling and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to rest.
Fish Pie Filling
- 3 white fish fillets (frozen or otherwise)
- half a carrot, cut into cubes
- quarter swede (optional), cut into cubes
- half a leek, cut into strips
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 medium white mushrooms, cubed
- small knob of butter
- 2 bay leaves
- splash of white wine
- salt and pepper
- 150ml single cream
- Blanch carrot and swede cubes in a pot of boiling water. Strain when just cooked.
- With the knob of butter in a skillet, fry the garlic till fragrant and sweat the leeks till soft. Remove and set aside.
- In the same skillet, gently poach the fish fillets in cream and bay leaves. Remove the fish once done, and cut them into bite-sized pieces after resting.
- Add the splash of white wine and reduce until strong taste of alcohol is not present.
- Add the fish, garlic, leek, carrot, swede and mushrooms to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
- Spoon into four ramekins, or one large ovenproof dish and leave to cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
- Roll out the puff pastry into a large sheet about half a centimetre thick.
- If using four ramekins, cut into four equal squares. If not, trim pastry sheet to a size slightly larger than the dish you’re using.
- Butter the ramekin rims.
- Cover them with the pastry squares, using a beaten egg as adhesive.
- Brush lightly with remaining egg wash.
- Poke holes in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape during baking. Here, we used a pair of scissors and snipped an ‘X’ right in the centre. You can use a knife or a fork.
- With four ramekins on a baking tray, bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pies are golden.
Warm pie on a cold spring night to warm your tummies!!