Star Gazey Pie: Tempting or Terrifying?

With fish heads peeking out from its crust, this English dish might not be as dreamy as it sounds. In a recent post about fish pie, a savory, homey dish that doesn’t get nearly as much love stateside as it does in the UK, blogger Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar mentioned the “wonderfully named” Star Gazey Pie, “in which the fish heads poke out of the crust and gaze at the stars.”

The Food and Drink in London blog offers some historical information on this pie, which originated in Mousehole, Cornwall:

The pie is traditionally served up on Tom Bawcock’s Eve (23 December), named in honour of a Mousehole fisherman who braved fierce elements to go out fishing alone when it seemed certain the locals were destined for famine.

In researching an authentic Stargazy Pie recipe it quickly became clear that there was very little consensus on what would constitute authenticity. ... All … agreed the traditional central fish is pilchard, although fortunately most allowed for sardine or mackerel to be substituted.

The British Food Trust has a simple recipe for the arguably ghoulish entrée, explaining that it’s meant to be “a fun dish, made for special occasions, or to amuse children.” Maybe kids were different back in the day in Cornwall, but unless your kid is Wednesday Addams, it seems more likely that this pie would give her some serious nightmares.

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