Stargazer Pie

Duck Pie

I’ve always loved chicken pot and other meat pies. Not that I’m sure why although I am about one quarter British once removed, and the Tudors were renouned for their roasted meats and meat pies in particular.

I remember touring the Tudor kitchens at Hampton Court Palace many years ago whilst on a pan-Eurpoean jaunt and thinking how amazing it would have been to feast on the delicacies that would have been coming out of that kitchen for the King. Then last night on television there was an hour long show on Tudor cooking. Oh, what excess. Massive meals were prepared and presented to the King for him to then pick and chose what he wanted to eat. Then they demonstrated the preparation for something called a Stargazer Pie made with pilchards (small whole fish) which had their heads poking out of the pastry. It looked a bit silly frankly, and the name suggests a kind of taxidermic approach to culinary presentation.

Regardless, I was intrigued. A search online this morning turned up very little information about this historical pie, but I did find a recipe for Duck Shank Pie inspired by it. Though in this case the concept of the contents poking up through the crust to stargaze seems to have been overlooked. In fact, this one has me thinking of upturned ducks, sans webbed feet, fishing in a pond. Yet, duck, savory filling, golden crust…yum.

I may have to try this one! And if you have any info, photos or recipes for an original Stargazer pie, please let me know. Be interesting to try out.


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