I was not really planning to make this pie. I’d seen some photos of “Stargazy pies” while searching for unusual pies, but I had no plans (or desire) to make one. Then, they came up in conversation, I believe Cathy mentioned the name and a discussion ensued. I showed everyone in the room images from the internet to explain what we were talking about. But, I still had no intention to make one. No way!

Then, we went to our local fish market to pick up salmon for the Russian Fish Pie and there they were, right there in the case, picture perfect smoked mackerel! Fate was set in stone at that moment, and I went ahead and bought them. One half-pound of smoked mackerel… 

In the Astoria Oregon version of this medieval Cornish dish, freshly smoked mackerel poke their heads through the crust of this savory pie made with bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and a mustard custard. Based on the recipe for English Sardine Pie from André Baranowski


  • 2 1⁄4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder, preferably Coleman’s
  • 12 T. butter, cubed and chilled
  • 6 T. cold water


  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 c. chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. English mustard, such as Colman’s
  • 2 T. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 – 8  smoked mackerels (from Warrenton Deep Sea:
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and sliced



Make the crust: Whisk flour, mustard, and salt in a bowl. Using a dough blender, two forks, or your fingers, cut butter into flour mixture, forming pea-size crumbles. Add water; work dough until smooth. Divide dough in half, cover and chill 1 hour before using.

Heat bacon in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Add butter and onion to pan; cook until golden. Remove from heat; whisk in stock, yogurt, mustard, parsley, lemon juice, half the egg, and salt; set aside until cooled.

Heat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough to fit into round pie pie plate; trim edges, leaving 1” dough overhanging edge of plate.

Arrange bacon and eggs in slices around the pie, pour in mustard custard, add salt and pepper. Arrange fish in a clocklike pattern with heads resting along edge of crust.

Roll remaining disk of dough into a 12” round; cut slits in dough about 2” from the edge. Place over top of pie and pull sardine heads through slits. Pinch top and bottom edges together and fold under; crimp edges. Brush with remaining egg; bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.


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