Topless Seafood Pies

By Ms Cuisine

These small individual pies (or are they quiches) are handfuls of seafood flavour nestled in a crispy golden crust. I have used a seafood trifecta of green prawns, scallops and cooked crab meat; however, you can either do as I have done with a combo of seafood, or you could just use one type of seafood.

The shortcrust pastry in these pie cases can be made from scratch or you could use packaged pastry sheets.  

The following quantities will make four generously sized pies or six smaller ones.

Shortcrust Pastry Recipe

  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 100g butter, chilled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 250g small green prawns, peeled
  • 250g scallops, cut into four
  • 250g cooked crab meat
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 40g cheese of your choice, grated

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Cut the butter into very small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (buttercrumbs).

Make a well in the centre of the ‘buttercrumbs’ and add the combined egg and water. Slowly work this mixture together with a knife or pastry scraper until it forms a rough ball. Then turn this mixture out onto a lightly floured board and knead very gently for about twenty seconds only.

Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least half an hour before using.

To line your pie dishes, roll the pastry out to your desired thickness. Lay the pastry over and around your rolling pin and then unroll the pastry loosely over the pie dish. Press the pastry carefully into the base and sides of an individual pie dish. Repeat this process with the rest of your pie dishes. Refrigerate the lined pie dishes for about half an hour before trimming their pastry edges. Refrigerating the lined pie dishes will allow the pastry to shrink before trimming the edges.

Baking Blind

The pastry will need to be baked blind before adding the seafood filling. Baking the pastry blind will prevent the base from becoming soggy during cooking.

Preheat your oven to 170C\325F.

Lightly scrunch a piece of baking paper for each pie. Then place a piece of scrunched baking paper into each pastry lined pie dish. The scrunching makes it easier to insert the baking paper inside the pastry cases. Now smooth out the pieces of baking paper and lay them inside the pie dishes; the baking paper should now be sitting on top of the pastry. Next spread baking weights or uncooked rice over the top of the paper and press down carefully so that the paper rests against the sides and bases of the pastry in the pie dishes.

Place the pie dishes in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm. Remove the pie dishes from the oven and carefully remove the baking weights from each pie dish.

Beat an egg and paint the beaten egg onto the pastry base of the pie dishes. Return the pie dishes to the oven and bake for about three minutes. Remove the pie dishes from the oven and allow to cool before adding the filling.

 Seafood Filling

To make the seafood filling mix, firstly heat the butter in a frypan. Then add the green prawns and scallops to the hot butter and stir fry them for a minute or two until the prawns just turn pink. Remove the prawns and scallops from the pan and drain on some paper towel.

Extract the crab meat from a cooked crab. Drain the cooked crab meat on some paper towel as well.

Combine the prawns, scallops and crab meat in a bowl.

Spoon equal amounts of the combined seafood mix into each of your pastry lined pie dishes.

Whisk the eggs, cream and chives together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the seafood in the pie dishes. From past experience I have found the easiest way to do this is to put the egg mixture into a jug with a pouring lip. The jug makes the egg mixture a lot easier to pour. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of each pie.

Bake the pies in the oven until the filling is firm, the top of the filling is golden brown. One way to test if the filling is cooked is to insert a knife into the centre of one of your pies. The knife should come out clean when your pie is cooked.

Your Seafood Pies are now ready to eat.