Newfoundland Blue Ensign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Remembrance Day falls this year in Canada on November 11th. Some provinces and territories celebrate it, also, on November 12th. My Dad hails from Newfoundland, and at times he made what he called scrappy pie to celebrate it. It is on Remembrance Day there that Canadians remember all of the fallen soldiers from past wars.
My great-uncle Charles was killed in Belgium in the first World War and is buried where he was killed defending his fallen comrades. His name is called out and his memory is saluted by a contingent of military members at Parliament every year on this day. For this I simply give you my father’s Americanized version of Scrappy Pie (or Newfoundland Seafood Pie):
Potato topping ingredients: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup fresh mashed potato, 4 ounces butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 Tablespoons dried breadcrumbs.
Filling: 16 ounces whitefish (cod, haddock, whiting or your choice), large cooked shrimp (8 ounces), 1 small onion- chopped fine, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped fine, zest of a lemon – grated, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 cups milk.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix this with the mashed potato until thoroughly blended. Blend in the butter, then draw into a dough, adding a bit of water until dough sticks together. Wrap dough in pastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Prepare filling by cutting fish into chucks and putting them into a 10 inch pie pan or baking dish. Mix in the seafood, onions, peas, parsley and zest. Blend the cornstarch with a bit of milk in a bowl. Heat the remaining milk almost to boiling and stir it into the cornstarch mixture. Return mixture to pan and stir until the mixture thickens. Add seasoning and pour over fish filling. Cool for 20 minutes. Bring oven to 400F (200C).
Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper to overlap to of pie plate. Remove the top of the waxed paper and use the bottom sheet to help position dough on top of seafood mixture.
Press dough around edges of pan and clean up the edges. Slash center of pie with small knife to vent steam. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle liberally with plain breadcrumbs.
Put pie on a baking sheet Bake for 10 minutes – then drop temperature to 350F (180C). Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
My father cooked this for us when we were very young and it’s the closest I can come to the original recipe. I sought out Scrappy Pie recipes everywhere to no avail, so if someone could forward me more from the great nation of Canada, I would greatly appreciate it.
May you stay safe and sound on Remembrance Day. And to my remaining Newfoundland cousins, may the sea treat you right and the cod keep running.