We chose Whitby Fish Pie for our eleventh Bake Off challenge. We adapted the recipe from Paul Hollywood’s book, “British Baking”. We had to adapt it because we live roughly 1,000 miles from the sea.
The amounts for pastry were double what we needed so we’ve popped the rest of it in the freezer for another time. You need 275g (2 cups) plain flour and cut in 135g (3/4 cup) butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp of cold water and add to the flour mixture. Work it until you have a dough. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
We chose to make the lattice first, so once the dough had rested, we got the rolling pin out. I drew the outline of the pie dish onto some parchment paper so we knew how big to make the top. Roll out the pastry into a rectangle and cut into strips. We used 15.
Becky used a pizza cutter with a baking tin for a guide.
So far, so good.
Look what we made! We covered it up and put it to one side while we made the filling. We only used 250g frozen cod and 200g frozen prawns, instead of “400g of fresh haddock, 400g smoked haddock, and 175g fresh prawns, peeled and cooked”. Becky likes fish, but I’m not a big fan, so the recipe was WAY too fishy for me, plus it would have cost a fortune to buy all that. We added 2 cooked potatoes, chopped and 2 boiled eggs, chopped to pad it out a bit.
The recipe calls for 700ml full fat (3%) milk which you heat up with a bay leaf, 4 cloves and an onion, peeled and halved. You bring to a boil and then leave it for 30 minutes before straining. Don’t think so. We cooked the cod in the milk on a very low simmer with a pinch of nutmeg. It barely took 10 minutes. We ‘fished’ the cod out and flaked it onto the bottom of our pie dish. We put the cooked, thawed, prawns on top, then potato and egg.
We kept the pot on a low simmer and added chopped broccoli, about 1/2 cup for 5 minutes. The recipe calls for 75g spinach, but I had added it to a soup the day before by accident. Oops. If you have spinach, just chop it and hold onto it. In another pot, melt 60g butter (about 4 tbsp) and stir in 60g (4tbsp) flour. Slowly add the hot milk, stirring, and bring it back to boiling. At this point you would add spinach if you had some and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley. I’m a bit wary of too much parsley due to bad experiences with parsley sauce and fish fingers/sticks when I was growing up. As with any herb or spice, add half the amount and taste before you add any more.
Pour the sauce over the fish, prawns, potatoes, egg, or whatever you’ve got.
Now comes the lattice. It was a bit tricky. I just had to flip it over really quickly.
Yahoo! With a bit of a trim it looked pretty good. Brush with egg.
Bake at 200 C/400 F for 25-30 minutes. I checked after 18 minutes and noticed the filling was bubbling over the top of the pastry. Disaster! I looked at the recipe again and noticed one little remark, “leave to cool”. We should have left the filling to cool before putting the pastry on top. Lesson learned! Totally my fault. Becky was perfect as always.
The taste test was positive; both plates were clean. It was very tasty indeed! High praise from someone who is not keen on fish. It was clear that the recipe could be adapted to whatever seafood, veggies, or even herbs that you have in stock and like to use. Plus you will have pastry left over to start another recipe.
Cheryl and Becky