The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges.
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!
Week 8 of season 8 had one of the weirdest themes I have ever seen in Bake Off; It was the forgotten bakes week. These are bakes that were made in the past and tended to stay there. I would think for good reason but we’re going to revive them once again! The signature bake for this week is a Bedfordshire clanger.
I didn’t have a recipe to go off from the show (probably because they didn’t expect anyone to do something like this) so I created what seemed to be the best recipe for me based on what research I did. A Bedfordshire clanger isn’t difficult to make but has some interest twist to make it a truly unique dish.
There were a lot of different ingredients that went into this dish because it’s basically three dishes combined into one! There’s the savory filling for your main meal, the sweet filling for dessert, and the pastry case which can act as the slice of bread on the side!
For the savory filling, I went with something a bit more “meat” inspired since that was the more traditional filling back when clangers were an active meal. I did substitute out some of the ingredients to make this dish more vegetarian friendly.
Making the Savory Filling
The savory filling was mostly cooked before I baked the clanger. I started by prepping the onions. The oil was heated in a frying pan and then the onions were added into the hot pan. I love the crackling noises the onions make when they land on the hot oil. It’s perfection. The onions were sauteed for about 3 minutes, I wanted to get them soft and golden.
The next ingredients to join the pan was the sage and the be’f. You can use actual ground meat as well, but this is a substitute I enjoy using and I figured I should be able to eat the dish. How else would I know if it was good? I cooked the dish for a few minutes while stirring.
Lastly, I added in the minced apples, Worcestershire sauce, and pea. I cooked everything down with the dish covered. Didn’t want to let too much of that moisture escape. Just the right amount. Once everything is done, it’s time to season the dish to your tastes. The savory filling was then set aside to cool.
Making the Sweet Filling
The sweet filling was the easier part of the dish to make. The first step is to chop all the fruits into pieces of a similar size. We’re effectively putting a fruit salad in the dessert side of the clanger.
Next, I tossed the fruit in a little bit of granulated sugar to macerate the fruits. This will help draw out the sweetness and acts almost like a fruit marinade. Lemon juice can also be used in this step to bring out more color and add a slightly acidic flavor.
Annnnd that’s it. It’s time to set the sweet filling aside and move on to my pastry.
Making the Pastry
I feel like Pastry has become an old friend over the course of the past several weeks. I don’t know I could get away from it even if I tried! The pastry used this time is a simple dough and we start by making breadcrumbs.
The flour, salt, vegetable fat (diced), and butter (diced) are all mixed in. I used a rubbing technique to rub the butter and vegetable fat into the flour. This has brought me the most consistent results for a breadcrumb texture. It has also brought me messy hands. But pastry is messy, that’s just a par for the course.
Water and a beaten egg were then added into the pastry to give it a more dough like consistency. After mixing and a little kneading, the dough should come together in a smooth and pliable manner. It still was a little crumbly for me but it works for what I wanted. I like leaving the dough to rest and become even more springy but it’s not necessary for this pastry if you want to keep moving forward.
Shaping and Baking
Since this pastry is for two clangers, I rolled out the pastry to be four times the width that I wanted. My pastry ended up being about 5 inches by 8 inches. I cut the pastry in half to have two rectangles that were 5 inches by 4 inches.
Working with one pastry section at a time, I gently spoon my savory and sweet fillings onto half of the pastry keeping them separated by leaving room for a wall of pastry to be created. The original divide for pastry is a 3:1 (savory to sweet) ratio but you can really do whatever makes you happy!
I did a light egg was along the edges of the pastry to help it stick together better during the bake. Then I folded the pastry over the fillings and crimped the edges to give it a clean close. And it’s doesn’t look half bad either. In the void between the fillings, I pressed down on the dough to create that separation.
There was one last step to do before putting the clangers in the over. I poke steam holes both sides of the pastry just to prevent any unwanted leaks or explosions. I also sprinkled a bit of granulated sugar on the sweet side of my clanger. This was to add another layer of depth and make the sweet side more visible obvious.
This process was repeated on the second pastry strip before the clangers were put in the oven. I ended up cooking them at two different temperatures to get the texture of the pastry just right. I cooked them to they turned golden brown in color.
The clanger was a very interesting dish. The pastry ended up being very crumbly and extremely buttery. But while it was crumbly when eating, it was hard to carry. Although the sweet end and the savory end really wanted to separate from each other.
Am I ready for bake-off? I feel like the pastry was too thick to fully enjoy the pastry and filling combinations. I wanted more filling and less pastry, but I couldn’t make the pastry thinner because it would just fall apart. Maybe I should have gone with a different pastry… I do love the flavors of the fillings. I could eat those all day!
What is a Bedfordshire Clanger?
A Bedfordshire Clanger dates back to at least the 19th century. It was typically made for agricultural workers to take with them to work as their lunch. The original pastry was made from suet and cooked by a boiling method. There is a theory that the pastry crust was not original intended for consumption but as a vessel in which to protect the filling from the soiled hands of the workers.
Sweet and Savory Bedfordshire Clanger
- 3 ½ Cup Self-Rising Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Shredded Vegetable Fat
- ¼ Cup Butter chilled and cubed
- 1 Egg beaten
- 1 Egg for exterior egg wash
- 2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar for sprinkling
- 1 Onion chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
- 3 ½ Cup Minced B'ef or other meat
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
- 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 Apple finely chopped
- ½ Cup Frozen Peas
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 Apple diced
- 3 Dated pitted and diced
- 1 Orange zested
- ½ Cup Golden Raisins
- 2 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan. Add onions and sauté for two to three minutes or until onion is soft and golden.
- Stir in Be’f (or actual meat if you prefer) and sage, cook gently for about five minutes, stirring often.
- Add in apples, Worcestershire sauce, and peas. Cook for an additional five minutes covered.
- Season to taste and leave to cool.
- Mix apples, dates, orange rind, golden raisins, and sugar.
- Set aside and allow the fruits to macerate in the sugar.
- Combine the flour, salt, vegetable fat, and butter until a breadcrumb-like consistency is achieved.
- Add in ½ cup water and the beaten egg to form a smooth dough. Knead for a minute or so until completely smooth.
- Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface until about ½ cm thick. Cut the dough into two rectangles (mine were approximately 4 inches by 5 inches). These pastries will be folded in half along the long edge so keep in mind the working room is really about half the size of the pastry.
- On one side of each pastry rectangle, put half of the savory filling one on end and the half of the sweet filling on the other end. Leave a space between them.
- Brush all of the pastry edges with an egg wash and then fold the pastry over the filling. Crimp the edges and push down on the strip of pastry between the savory and sweet filling. This will create a barrier between the two and prevent mixing.
- Brush the entire pastry with a beat egg and spring sugar on the sweet end of the pastry.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 25 minutes.
- Enjoy hot or cold!!