Tasmania is famous for its scallop pies. We have been asking around for recommendations on who makes or sells the best ones. I couldn’t wait to find a place that was recommended so decided to make some myself. I did discover that The Tasmanian Scallop Pie Company does mail order and their website states ‘The quaint tradition of putting premium Tasmanian Sea Scallops into a pie began on the Hobart wharves in the early 19th Century. This taste sensation has remained a uniquely Tasmanian delicacy only available on the Island’.
According to legend, the curry in the ‘mornay’, Keen’s curry powder (a Tasmanian company) made the pies very popular with pub locals. So I think I get it…. take a bite of pie and have a swig of beer. Maybe the milk content lines the stomach.
Not willing to trust scallops in the mail…I decided to start from scratch. I had to try and find some pie tins, not that easy in our little town of St Helens but indefatigible me turned up 6 deep non stick pie tins in the local furniture and white goods store.
Then I found a recipe on the ABC Tasmania website written by Sally Wise. I will be putting my recipe version on the blog so check the Recipes menu tab if you want the recipe.
I began with making a shortcrust recipe, but not using my food processor, I left the large one in Brisbane, so this pastry was made lovingly by hand. Honestly speaking I rarely have to resort to this method and I surprised myself rediscovering how easy it is. Just rub the butter and flour between your hands to make a fine crumbly mixture and add enough freezing water to hold it together. But remember the more water you use the more shrinkage in the pastry. Only after I made it I realised I should have doubled it, these are deep pie tins and they need a top! In the end I used sheets of butter puff pastry I had on hand in the freezer for their hats. It was only after the pies were made I discovered that my emergency plan to top the pies with puff pastry is already the method of construction used by others here.
I am not one for using a lot of commercial curry powder so I was a bit worried about the curry powder addition. I made it one and half carefully measured teaspoons not two as in the recipe. I just did not want to overpower the scallops. A mornay sauce is so very rich so I was careful to get the right consistency. I think using skim milk helped, cooking the flour taste out well and using a quality Pyengana matured cheddar in the sauce. I thought the results were pretty good and we ate them as soon as they were out of the oven. Another detail, I did not blind bake the pastry but just made sure the pastry stayed in the freezer until ready to fill with the cooled down scallop mornay. I used my oven’s bottom element to make sure the pastry cooked well on the base and made sure I had the temperature very high for the first 10-15 minutes. I am not that proud of my pastry lid crimping but I will get better with a bit more practice. There is a distinct lack of a dome because the filling did not come entirely to the top. But my pies had at least a dozen scallops in them and with the sauce they were quite a meal. I think the sepia conversion of the photo is perfect for they are a retro pie. Roz