Skip to main content
Updated date:

Delicious English Stargazy Pie Recipe

What is Stargazy Pie?

Stargazy pie is a quaint English dish which originated in the village of Mousehole in Cornwall. It is a pie that is usually made with herrings or pilchards, along with eggs and sometimes potatoes. When preparing the dish, the fish heads should be left to protrude from the pie's crust to give the impression that they are gazing towards the sky. If done correctly, this will allow the oils released during cooking to flow back into the pie.

The Origin Story of Stargazy Pie

It is said that one particularly harsh winter, the heroic Tom Bawcock braved the stormy sea and saved his village from starvation by catching a great many types of fish and baking them all into one large pie. He is celebrated on Tom Bawcock's Eve (23rd December), which is traditionally when stargazy pie is eaten.

Please Rate this Dish

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

35 min

1 hour 5 min

8 servings of stargazy pie


  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 8 medium herrings, cleaned & boned
  • pepper & salt to season
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon English mustard
  • 2 cups shortcrust pastry
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 slices streaky bacon, finely chopped with rinds removed
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup double cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

10 Inch Pie Dishes


  • 1 (10 inch) pie dish
  • 1 pastry brush
  • 1 rolling pin
  • 1 knife
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200 °C) and grease a 10 inch pie dish with butter. Set this to one side.
  2. Season both the outside and inside of the fish with the pepper and salt and spread 1 teaspoon of mustard over the inside of each herring. Set the fish to one side.
  3. Roll the pastry dough out on a flat floured working surface until it is 1 inch wider than the rim of the pie dish when set on top of the dish like a lid.
  4. Use a knife to trim a 1/2 inch strip from around the edges of the dough.
  5. Use water to dampen the rim of the pie dish and press the strip onto the rim. Set the rest of the dough to one side.
  6. Put the egg slices in the bottom of the greased dish and set the fish over them with their tails near the centre and the heads overlapping the edge of the pie dish.
  7. Drizzle the fish and eggs with the bacon, herbs and onions, and pour the cream over the dish's contents.
  8. Dip a pastry brush in water and use it to dampen the pastry strip around the dish's rim, then lift the dough onto the dish with the aid of a rolling pin.
  9. Be very careful to seal the dough around the fish heads, and cut a large cross in the middle of the dough.
  10. Use a pastry brush to coat the dough with the beaten egg.
  11. Place the pie in the oven and bake it for 35 - 40 minutes (until the crust is a golden-brown colour).
  12. Serve immediately.


Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on June 21, 2012:

What a fascinating pie and legend to go with it! I don't know that I'll try it...must husband doesn't like fish with the head intact...but it sure makes for an interesting read! Voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2012:

I have honestly never heard of stargazy pie nor the legend. Thanks for telling us about this. Voted interesting.

BJC from Florida on May 06, 2012:

Well, I'm from England and have eaten herring, but this is a new recipe for me ! I love to cook so I have to try it and keep you posted!

Thanks for sharing. The pictures are good :_

Related Articles