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All hail National Pie Week

9 March 2016

It’s like Christmas and birthday’s have all rolled into one. It’s National Pie Week!

The whole family is fond of a good pie in our household, whether sweet or savoury, they always go down well. So, in honour of this fantastic dish I’d like to share one of my favourite pie recipes with you.

Although I’m a fan, I’ve been told the traditional steak pie fails in comparison to my kale and hake pie which is a family favourite. Hake is a great, sustainable, local fish and it’s hard to beat on quality and price. The fish flakiness is perfect for this pie but haddock would make a good alternative.

I love meals that don’t need much washing-up and with the kale at the bottom of the pie, this is a dish that fits the bill. On a busy school night it couldn’t be better and fills the little people up so they can keep quiet and get on with their homework!

If you can be bothered, pipe the mashed potato on top rather than spooning them on. It makes a lovely array of little potato peaks which will go crispy when baked. They just add that little extra touch of class.

Top tip though. If you use purple kale, be prepared for the colour to bleed and you’ll end up with a blue pie! Still tastes delicious and will give the kids something to chuckle about with their pals.

Kale and Hake Pie


Make 4 individual pies

For the filling:

150g green curly kale, cut into fork-sized pieces
500ml full-fat milk
1 small onion
3 cloves
1 bayleaf, broken in half
500g hake or haddock
50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
50g plain flour
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
200g Isle of Mull cheddar, coarsely grated

For the topping:

500g floury potatoes
50g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
A good splash of full-fat milk
Salt and freshly ground white pepper


To make the mash topping, peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and put in a pan with salt and cold water to cover. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain really well, then add the butter and egg yolk. Beat well to prevent the egg form cooking and add enough milk to make a lovely creamy consistency. Season and set aside.

Blanch the kale by plunging it into boiling salted water for a few minutes until tender but not overcooked. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then drain again really well. Set aside.

Put the milk in a large pan over a low heat. Add the onion, cloves and bayleaf and bring to a simmer.

Add the fish to the milk, increase the heat and bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and leave the fish to poach in the milk for five minutes. Leave to cool, then remove the fish from the milk and flake it, being very careful to get rid of the bones. Strain the milk and set aside.

To make the sauce, put the butter in a medium pan over a low heat until it is melted. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for about three minutes until the mixture starts to bubble. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add half the strained milk and beat with a metal whisk or wooden spoon to prevent lumps forming. When the sauce starts to thicken, add half the cheese and adjust the seasoning.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease four individual 400g pie dishes and divide the cooked kale between them. Divide the fish equally between the dishes on top of the kale. Pour the sauce on top of each and spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes on top of the sauce. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes until the potato is golden brown.