Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 25, 2016

Tuna Tarts

Our oldest daughter went on an overnight school trip and came back full of excitement about the chicken pot pie they’d served for dinner. “It was amazing!” I’ve made a handful of pot pies for her since then (vegetable-based, since she is keen on being as vegetarian as possible) with equally enthusiastic reception, and so I now feel safe enough to branch out into slightly weirder recipes for pie filling. Such as this one from the mid-60’s…


Tuna Tarts: Prepare enough pastry for double crust 9-in. pie. Cut tops and bottoms to fit four 5 or 6-in. tart pans. Combine 10 1/2-oz. can cream of mushroom soup, 7-oz. can drained and flaked tuna, 1/4 c. sliced ripe olives, 2 tbsps. chopped sweet pickles, tbsp. each Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp. curry powder. Spoon into pastry-lined pans. Top with pastry and seal. Cut vents in top. Bake 20 to 30 minutes at 450.


Those readers that enjoy ogling our ingredients photographs (which is probably none of you) will notice that we were shopping at Trader Joe’s. Their brand is a much more flavorful condensed cream of mushroom soup than the mid-century staple, but relatively bland, Campbell’s brand.


White sauce (or bechamel) is one of those staple ingredients that has rather fell by the wayside, especially since condensed cream of (something) soup works so nicely as a substitute. As easy as a bechamel is to make, opening a can is even easier.

Either way, added it to meat or fish is delish.


“Hey, come take a picture of me chopping parsley!”


Here you are, internet audience. Buzz chopping parsley. Isn’t it fine? (Finely chopped, that is…)


And then that finely chopped parsley, along with the other add-in seasonings and ingredients, was added to the saucy tuna.


When it came time to put the tuna and so on into tart crusts, we realized we didn’t have any tart pan. Instead, we put pie crust into muffin tins and made mini fish pies!


They baked beautifully, and smelled amazing.


Unusually for even the best retro recipes, everyone in the family enjoyed these. We all thought it wasn’t quite perfect (some disliked the pickles, others the olives — the flavors and textures just didn’t quite belong), but curry creamed tuna is a nice combination.

It’d be even better over biscuits than in a pie crust, though. It would be amazing over biscuits.

I think I’m going to go make some biscuits and buy some more mushroom soup and tuna….

This recipe, from the October 1966 issue of Ebony magazine, was scanned in and shared online by Classic Film on Flickr.


  1. My grandmother hates olives, and it all stems from some mid century recipe she once tried that combined olives and tuna in some sort of casserole that turned her stomach. I wonder if this is a kindred spirit recipe? Another hot tuna dish that I enjoy reading about much more than I would eating! Thank you for your bravery! 🙂

  2. Oooh, the minute you said “biscuits” I knew what was up for dinner.
    It’s funny; I haven’t wanted cream of mushroom soup for anything for YEARS, and now suddenly it feels necessary. Your pastry looks nice and flaky, btw.

  3. After at LEAST 15 years without eating biscuits, I’ve suddenly had a taste for the ones they sell at my workplace (think Popeye’s)–they’re light and fluffy, and probably made with asbestos flour.

    This recipe has me thinking about making pastry AND chicken (tuna) pot pie. Thanks!

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