Mousehole a traditional fishing village where men go out in small boats to catch Sardines, Herring and Mackerel. A long time ago, there was a famine in the west country and no one had any thing to eat. It had been too rough to go out fishing, but a brave man called Tom Bawcock defied the odds and went out fishing. He brought back enough fish to feed the starving people and for ever more, December the 23rd has been called Tom Bawcock’s Eve. The main ingredient being Pilchards. Cornwall is famous for it’s abundance of pilchards and what better way to use them but in this fun Cornish dish. Very important that the pilchards heads come out the pastry to stare at the stars.
Star Gazy Pie Recipe
Short crust pastry, enough to make a cover and base for your chosen pie dish. Seven different kinds of fish ( This is traditional but it is usually made with Herrings, Sardines or Pilchards , large chopped onion, Salt and Pepper, Mustard or Horse radish, large bunch chopped parsley, 3 hard boiled Eggs, 3 Rashers Streaky Bacon, egg or milk to glaze pie.
Clean and gut the fish leaving the heads on. Line your chosen dish with short crust pastry.
Stuff the cavity in the fish with a mixture of chopped parsley mixed with mustard or horse radish sauce. Arrange them in the pie dish with their heads pointing sky ward. Pack the gaps between the fish with chopped hard boiled eggs, chopped onion and chopped bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Good slug of dry white wine.
Cover the dish with short crust pastry binding top to bottom by brushing the edges of the pastry with milk or water. Make the fish snug in the pie and glaze the top with beaten egg or milk.(Some people like to add a white sauce, made with fish stock or just milk, it’s up to you but the pastry will obviously be soggy on the bottom!) You could always use Puff pastry and leave the pastry off the bottom.
Place in a hot oven at 200c for half an hour. If the fish are large, reduce the heat to 150c and cook a further fifteen minutes.