Mary Berry claims her tip for fish pie topping is the ‘key to perfection’

There are myriad variations of the fish pie to choose from, but Mary Berry claims her unorthodox take on the classic dish is the “key to perfection”.

The Scottish dish has become an autumnal staple in many households across Britain owing to its delicious mix of seafood and heart-warming ingredients.

Its popularity is also partly owed to its adaptability, which has seen myriad chefs share their take on the British staple. Among these is Mary Berry’s adaptation, which claims a perfect fish pie boils down to the quality of the topping.

The iconic cook’s comforting take on the recipe is the image of perfection for cozy nights, serving at least six people and preparable in five fool-proof stages.

“I’m going to show you the key to perfect making my fish pie with crushed potato topping,” the cook declared in a tutorial clip for DK Books’ YouTube channel. Here’s how it goes:

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What 75g butter, plus extra for greasing

One large leek cut into thick slices

50g plain flour

600 ml hot, full-fat milk

1 ½ tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 ½ tbsp finely grated rind of ½ lemon

1 ½ salk and freshly ground black pepper

400g hake fillet, skinned and cut into 2.5 cm cubes

400g salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 2.5 cm cubes

200g fresh spinach

For the topping

800g new potatoes

Two tbsp olive oil plus two tsp for drizzling



Melt the butter into a saucepan and add the leek until softened but not browned. Stir the flour and cook for one to two minutes. Remove from heat and gradually pour in the milk. Return to medium heat and stir until boiling.


Once the sauce is thick and smooth add the dill, and lemon rind and season with salt and pepper. Add the hake and salmon and cook over low heat for two minutes, stirring twice. Pour the fish mixture into a buttered baking dish and set aside to cool.

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Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan and add the spinach. Cook until the leaves wilt and drain excess moisture thoroughly in a colander. Preheat the oven to 200C.


For the topping: put the potatoes into a large pan of cold salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and drain once tender, then return to squids to pan and break them up into chunky pieces with a fork. Stir in the olive oil and add salt and pepper.


Spread the spinach over the cooled fish mixture and spoon the potatoes over the top. Drizzle the remaining two tsps of olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pie bubbles around the edges and the topping turns golden.

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