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Sardines & Starry Gazie Pie Recipe

Sardines: salty, small and utterly delicious, and also known as pilchards. An oily fish from the herring family they are packed full of flavour and are a popular choice in Cornish fish dishes. The most famous dish to utilise the tasty fish is Starry Gazie Pie.

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The dish is thought to originate from Mousehole. The story of the pie, celebrated on Tom Bawcock’s eve is a romantic tale and illustrates the visceral link between Cornwall and produce. Though the story of Tom Bawcock, a fisherman who bravely landed a catch of sardines despite the terrible storm dates back to the 16th century, it was made popular by The Mousehole Cat, a beautiful story book. The villagers celebrated the catch by making Starry Gazie Pie and paraded it along the harbour.

Starry Gazie Pie is named for the iconic pilchard’s/ sardine’s heads poking through the pastry crust. It has to be tried, tasted and adored. A version of Starry Gazie pie went on to be the winning dish on the Great British menu.

Stars in their eyes: recipe courtesy of Prosenjit Sanjay Kumar of School of Cornish Sardines

Notes: Preparation time – 20 minutes Baking time – 20 minutes Serves 4

Kit & Caboodle

  • 100g rolled short crust pastry
  • 2 gutted Sardines
  • 200gms Hake filets and diced Cornish fish
  • 1 large chopped fennel
  • 1 clove, peeled and chopped garlic
  • 2 chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 egg
  • 20ml vegetable oil
  • A pinch of Cornish sea salt



Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Heat a pie mould, add vegetable oil, and soften the fennel, garlic and tomatoes, with spices and sea salt. Neatly arrange the diced up fish in the pie mould.

Lay the sardines on the mixture, with their heads facing skywards. Roll the short crust pastry to fit the size of the pie mould.

Cover the pie dish with short crust pastry, leaving the heads of sardines looking out of the pastry and seal the edges with whisked egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot, with lots of dressed salad leaves and buttered potatoes.

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Sardines & Starry Gazie Pie Recipe

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