27 Mar 2024

Festival Director Karena Armstrong shares her mum Helen's famous fish pie. This family recipe features tender chunks of Mulloway fish with sauteed vegetables and fresh herbs in a velvety white sauce. Encased in a buttery, flaky pastry crust, it's a delicious centerpiece for your Easter table or as a comforting dinner as the temperature drops.


  • 500g plain flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 300g butter diced-chilled  
  • 100g sour cream
  • 100ml cold water 


  1. Combine the butter and flour in the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until the large pebbles form. 
  2. Add the cold water, sour cream and mix until the dough just comes together. 
  3. Transfer to the bench and push together into a rectangle. 
  4. Roll out and do 6 book folds resting in-between every 2 folds, rolling into a long rectangle each time and folding top to bottom, and turning to have the open seam on the left.
  5. On the final turn roll into a large square with the pastry .25 cm thick.
  6. Cut the pastry to fit a rectangular pie tin with a 1.5cm overhang.
  7. Cut a lid to fit both the top and match the overhang pastry.
Alternatively buy some Careme puff pastry from your local independent supermarket!


  • 500g white fleshed fish – Mulloway
  • 500ml milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2  white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stem celery
  • ½ small leek
  • 30g butter
  • ½ bunch curly parsley
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1  kestrel potato
  • 50g butter unsalted
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Poaching milk from the fish
  • 1 egg beaten


  1. To make the fish mix. Place the milk into a saucepan that fits with the fish snuggly. Add the bay leaves, garlic and any parsley stalks from the parsley.
  2. Turn on a low heat and poach for 5-10 minutes until the fish is just cooked and starting to come apart easily. Cool the fish slightly and remove from the milk. Strain the warm milk and set aside to make the white sauce for the pie.
  3. Finely dice the onion, garlic, leek, celery, carrot and sauté in the butter. Season well with sea salt and pepper and cook until soft over a medium heat. Around 6-10 minutes. Whilst the vegetables are cooking finely chop the parsley and zest the lemon.
  4. When the vegetables are tender add the parsley and lemon zest and set aside to cool.
  5. Place the kestrel potato in a pot and cover with cold water and add a generous pinch of sea salt. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until just tender, remove from the water and allow to cool. Peel and slice into thin slices when cool to touch. Set aside.
  6. To make the white sauce, add the butter to a small saucepan, and melt. Add the flour and beat in to make a roux paste. Add the warm milk a little at a time and beat vigorously after each addition. Add all the milk and cook the sauce until you have a thick and creamy sauce. Add a little extra cold milk if the sauce is too thick. Season with sea salt and white pepper. Let the sauce cool to room temperature and then fold in the vegetables and fish and stir gently.
  7. To assemble the pie, press the bottom layer of pastry into the corners of the tin and make sure you leave the overhand of pastry. Beat the egg and set aside with a pastry brush. Layer the sliced potato on the bottom and then pour over the fish mix. Use the egg wash to brush the overhang and pop on the top layer of pastry. Seal up the pie and trim the excess pastry. Seal the edges and then egg wash the top of the pie. Set in a fridge for around 20minutes. Egg wash again and then cut into the top of the pie
  8. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 Serve with Dijon mustard and fresh salad leaves.