Fish Pie Masterclass: cook the best fish pie

Fish Pie Masterclass: cook the best fish pie

A fish pie masterclass with the pie master himself. Chef Calum Franklin shares his pro tips and uses our fish pie mix to make the ultimate dish!

1. Gently simmer to set your fish

Bring to simmer milk and double cream as your poaching liquid for the fish, keeping an eye on it as it comes up not let it come to boiling point. If you let it boil, you'll have to start over to preserve the fish texture. When your liquid has just come to a simmer, turn the heat down, put the fish in and give it a stir, letting it cook for just a minute to let the fish just set. We don't need to cook it fully as it will carry on cooking in the oven.

2. Make your roux at the lowest heat in 10 minutes only

Clean the pan you cooked the fish in and heat the butter in it on a medium heat before adding plain flour and mixing with your whisk to make a roux. Make sure to turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible and let cook for 10 minutes without letting it brown by whisking regularly and turning down the heat if possible if it gets too hot.  10 minutes is important to ensure you don't have that raw taste of flour in your fish sauce. When your roux has cooked for 10minutes, leave the low heat on and grab a ladle and the bowl with the milk and cream mix from cooking the fish. Pour in 2-3 ladles full of your milk cream liquid into the roux and keep whisking quickly until you get a nice smooth consistency.  Don't add all the liquid at once, so you can whisk it to get a smooth mixture first. Then, you can tip over the rest of the milk liquid straight from the bowl, whisk to mix well and switch off the heat.

3. Let your cooked potatoes dry

After checking your potatoes are cooked nice and soft all the way through, pop them into another colander to let them steam off for as much moisture as possible to come off. This is really important as it will be the mash at the top of your fish pie. It's very much in fashion to bang in as much butter as you can into your smash which is great but not for fish pie! The reason why is if you put too much fat into that mash when you lay it on your fish pie and put it in the oven, it will split out and turn into some sort of potato soup on top of your pie. Nobody wants that. The trick is to leave your mash quite dry. Just use the butter that is on this recipe and one egg yolk to add a richness to the mass and a golden colour. Follow the recipe, don't add load lots of butter or cream into the recipe.

4. Don't pre-cook frozen peas

After scattering your poached fish evenly on your oven-proof dish, cover the fish with frozen peas. The reason why we put them frozen in is that when we put our creamy sauce in, it will cool it down. Pour the creamy sauce all over evenly and give the dish a shake so the sauce fills the gaps. Let it cool down for 10minutes.

5. Ruffle your pie for a crusty top

Grab your mash and pop it in blobs over the top of the pie with a spoon before you even it all out. Take your time going around your dish to smooth out your mash, starting with the sides of the dish. Make sure to ruffle it by taking a fork and dragging it down the pie in lines so it creates little ridges to give the pie more texture and a crusty top at the end.

6. Use an extra baking tray

Pop the pie in the oven for about half an hour at 180C degrees until it gets golden and has a crunchy topping. If you have a gas oven, turn your dish half way through. Another quick tip is to make sure to put a tray underneath your fish pie so it catches the caramelised sauce dripping on the side (that magic moment of a fish pie).

Watch his video masterclass here or read the full recipe here.

 perfect fish pie

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