The Pie Master Chef Calum Franklin Ultimate Fish Pie

The Pie Master Chef Calum Franklin Ultimate 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!

Watch his video masterclass here or continue to read the full video transcript (including pro tips flagged with☝️) below.

Ingredients for 4-5 people:

For the fish:

For the top:

  • 1kg of desiree or maris piper potatoes
  • 60g of butter
  • 1 egg yolk

For the sauce:

  • 30g plain flour
  • 40g of butter
  • 400ml milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1tbsp dijon mustard
  • 20g chopped capers and gherkins (don't squeeze the juice out)
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking time:

180C for over for 30min


gas mode 6 for 15min, then turn + 15 minutes more



1. Peel potatoes and rinse off before putting them in a large pan with cold water. Bring pan to boil, then let simmer until they are super soft. about 15-20minutes/
2. For the fish: first get your raw fish mix ready to cook in a big bowl and have a large colander at hand too. In another pan, bring to simmer the milk and double cream which will be your poaching liquid for the fish. Pro tip:☝️ Keep an eye on the liquid as it comes up not let it come to boiling point. Do not let it boil, otherwise you'll have to start over!). 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.
3. After a minute of simmering, pop your colander on top of the big bowl where you had your raw fish and gently empty the cooking liquid from the pan into the colander until it's empty, then let the fish slide into the colander. The milk cream is infused with the flavour of the fish and the fish is just part cooked. 
4. Clean the pan you cooked the fish in and heat the butter in it on a medium heat, giving it a move around with a whisk until melted. Add the plain flour and let combine into a paste by mixing with your whisk, then 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.
5. While your roux is cooking for 10minutes, check your potatoes are cooked nice and soft all the way through when pocking a knife in and 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 load lots of butter or cream into the recipe.
6. 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.
7. Add the chopped capers and gherkins into the milky mix, pick the leaves of your parsley and add them in (no need to chop them), then add the cheddar and dijon mustard. Grab your whisk and give that all a nice mix. Lastly, squeeze half a lemon into the sauce and give it a good twist of black pepper and just a touch of salt to taste ( ☝️ be careful not to add too much salt straightaway as the smoked haddock already has some salt as well as pickles). Mix well and taste to adjust seasoning.
8. Next, let's line the pie. Grab your oven-proof dish and scatter your poached fish in evenly, then cover with the frozen peas straight on the fish. ☝️ 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.
9. 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. ☝️ Lastly, 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.
10. Pop 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).
11. Get your pie out once it has that super crunchy topping and dig in!


Watch the full masterclass video on our here.


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