The British Pie That Has Fish Heads Poking From The Top Crust

British pies are staples of British cuisine and for a good reason. There are so many of them, ranging from sweet to savory. For instance, the earliest British pies were called pyes, and those were mostly made with meat (per Britain). The crust on top was invented in order to preserve the ingredients underneath, and all of that happened when the Pilgrims went to North America and brought their food across the pond. On the other hand, fruit pies first appeared in England in the 16th century — the first cherry pie was supposedly served to Queen Elizabeth I (via Parker's British Institution).

Today, there are many pastries to choose from, and Insanely Good Recipes reveals a list of the most popular ones, including steak pies filled with stewed beef — the famous Cornish pasty filled with steak, potatoes, and turnips — and cheese and onion pies; the name says it all. And those dishes are just the tip of the iceberg, so let's take a look at one unique Cornish pie with an unusual and extravagant visual appearance.

Stargazy pie is a Cornish pie that's traditionally made on December 23

According to LoveFood, stargazy pie is an unusual British cake that's believed to originate from Mousehole, a charming fishing village located in Cornwall. Traditionally, it's made with pilchards that poke their heads out of the top crust as if they're looking at the stars, hence the pie's name. And although it might be weird to see this pie with jutting pilchard heads, locals say it's delicious and a part of their Christmas traditions.

And there's also an interesting legend surrounding stargazy pie: A local fisherman, Tom Bawcock, supposedly sailed during a storm in order to catch fish because the village of Mousehole was faced with famine at the time. When he'd returned, Bawcock used the caught fish to make a cake and shared it with the hungry villagers. The hero is now celebrated by making the pie annually, on December 23, also known as Tom Bawcock's Eve.

Vice reveals that the pie also contains grated hard-boiled eggs, stock, butter, potatoes, onions, parsley, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper. And if pilchards are unavailable, cooks might use sardines or smaller herrings (per The Guardian). So if you're feeling adventurous and maybe want to unsettle your loved ones, make this strange Cornish pie at home and enjoy it on a starry night.