How to make the Bedfordshire Clanger

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How to make the Bedfordshire Clanger
Bedfordshire Clanger (Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A two-in-one meal hailing from Bedfordshire, this long suet crust dumpling makes for quite the main course-pudding, savoury-sweet package. Known by many as just a Clanger, this traditional pastry dish is filled with minced meat, diced potatoes and vegetables, while the other half is packed with a sweet jam, apple or fruit compote. An old-style delicacy with a rich history, the wives of the Bedfordshire farm labourers would prepare this meal for their husbands for a hearty midday dual snack plus pudding.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • For the filling
  • 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 500 g (17.6oz) beef skirt, chopped
  • 1 tin beef consomme
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Apple jam or compote
  • For the pastry
  • 350 g (12.3oz) self-raising flour
  • 60 g (2.1oz) butter, chilled
  • 85 g (3oz) shredded beef suet
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 150 ml (5.3fl oz) water

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Instructions

    The filling

  1. 1

    First start by preparing the meat filling by heating half of the vegetable oil in a large heavy-based skillet. Add the onions until soft and translucent, cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

    How to make the Bedfordshire Clanger
    Chopping onions (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Add more vegetable oil to the pan and heat again, but this time add the minced meat. Stir around and cook on high heat until evenly browned. Remove the meat from the pan, adding to the onions.

  3. 3

    Add the beef consomme and the Worcestershire sauce to the pan, heat to a boil to reduce the liquid until you have about 3 tablespoons of the liquid left. Then, add the meat and onion mixture. Heat for a few minutes and stir, once the liquid is all the way reduced turn off the heat.

    For the pastry

  1. 1

    Mix the flour, salt, suet and butter with your fingers to make a doughy breadcrumb-like texture. Add 150-160ml water, 1 beaten egg and knead to form a smooth dough. Roll out to 1cm thick.

    How to make the Bedfordshire Clanger
    Roll out dough 1cm thick (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Spoon the meat filling onto one half of the dough, while adding the apple compote onto the other. Add a piece of pastry on the border to make a divider to separate the two sides. Roll the pastry over into a large sausage roll shape, knife slits onto the sweet side to make it clear which flavor is which.

  3. 3

    Place on a lightly grease a baking tray and place in the oven (200C/400F) for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

  4. 4

    Take out of the oven, let cool and serve.

Tips and warnings

  • The sweet side can be brushed with egg and topped with sugar.
  • A similar, but savoury, dish comes from Buckinghamshire. It is made with a bacon, potato and onion flavor.

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