Easy Smoked Fish Pie with Cheesy Crumble

Caroline Marson, Banbury
45 - 60 mins

This fish pie uses a pastry topping that doesn't need rolling out, just grating! Make sure the pastry is well chilled, almost frozen and the trick is to use ready-made pastry – the homemade version can get too soft to grate. Make a few portions for the freezer.

350g skinned fish, such as ling, hake, cod, haddock or salmon (try and get sustainably sourced fish where you can)
350g un-dyed smoked haddock
1 small onion
1 bay leaf
450ml milk
1 fillet of cooked smoked mackerel
4 eggs
25g butter
25g flour
2 tablespoon crème fraiche
Ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
225g chilled shortcrust pastry
50g leftover cheese such as Cheddar, Gruyere
Place the raw fish in a wide pan, add the quartered onion and bayleaf and pour over 450ml milk. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked. Remove with a fish slice, the fish and place in an over proof dish about 22cm in diameter. Discard the onion and bayleaf from the dish and put into a compost bin or stock.
Bring a small pan of water to the boil and hard boil the eggs; carefully lower the eggs into the water and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and run under cold water; peel the eggs, cut into chunks and place on top of the fish. Flake the smoked mackerel and distribute over the eggs and cooked fish.
To make the sauce; melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for one minute over a moderate heat. Gradually add the fish poaching milk, whisking all the time, and simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring until you have smooth, slightly thick sauce. Remove the sauce from the heat, add the crème fraiche, season with salt, ground black pepper and nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the fish and the eggs.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) mark 6. Thickly grate the frozen pastry straight over the top of the fish pie, sprinkle with cheese and cook for about 25-30 minutes or piping hot and the topping is crisp and golden.
To freeze: Complete up to step 3. Cover, label and freeze for up to 3 months.To use: Defrost overnight in the fridge and complete the recipe from step 4.