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Bedfordshire Clanger

Introduction & method

This traditional pastry from Bedfordshire has a few things in common with the Cornish pasty - it was a way for agricultural workers to take food to work with them. The pastry crust is like a big sausage roll and it contains a meaty filling in one end, and a sweet dessert in the other. In this recipe my savoury filling is pork and cider, and the sweet is apple and sultanas. Herefordshire also lays claim to inventing the clanger.

Bedfordshire Clanger Recipe

Make the Pork and Cider Filling

Peel and dice the onion, and sauté it in oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Cut the pork into smaller than bite-size cubes. Remove any fat, if present. Add to frying pan and brown all over. Pour in the cider, and add the herbs and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then taste and add salt if necessary. Increase the heat to reduce the amount of liquid to a couple of teaspoons. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the Apple and Sultana Filling

Peel, core and chop the apple into small dice. Pop them in a suacepan with the other ingredients on medium heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes - the apple should be soft, and the cider reduced to almost nothing. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Make the Suet Pastry

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, then start to rub in the butter with your fingertips. We're aiming for coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the suet, then the egg, then half the water. When that is all incorporated, add as much of the remaining water until you have a ball of dough. Tip it out onto a floured worktop and knead it for about 5 minutes - pull it, fold it in thirds, turn it 90 degrees, pull, fold, turn etc. Place back in the bowl, cover and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. The pastry, that is, not you. You're having a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Assemble and Bake the Clangers

Heat the oven to 180°C (356°F) for a fan oven, 200°C (392°F) for a conventional one, gas 6. Sprinkle flour onto your worktop and rolling pin. Divide the dough into 2. Roll it out into a rectangle about 35cm (14 inches) x 20cm (8 inches) and not more than a centimetre thick. Roll this up, then unroll it onto a sheet of greaseproof paper (because it's easier to handle it this way than to try to lift it unsupported onto a baking sheet - trust me on this). I find it easier to place the fillings on the half of the pastry furthest away from me. Take a small strip of spare pastry, moisten one edge and position it as a divider between the savoury and sweet sections. You can divide it 50/50, or 66/33. Spoon savoury filling into the bigger division, and the sweet into the smaller one, leaving a 2cm/three quarter inch margin at the top and sides. Moisten all edges with water, lift the bottom half of the pastry up and over the fillings, and press the edges together to seal them. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a silicone mat, sprinkle plenty of flour onto it, and then roll the clanger on. Paint the top and sides with eggwash (beaten egg and milk), stab the top with a fork to make holes for steam to escape and cut lines in the top where the sweet filling is. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden-brown. Turn halfway through to get even browning.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Bedfordshire Clanger on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 300 grams pork
 1 medium onion
 250 ml dry cider
 a splash of worcestershire sauce
 a few sprigs of fresh thyme
 2 leaves fresh sage
 to taste salt & pepper
 2 eating apples
 a small handful sultanas
 2 tbsp demerara sugar
 125 ml dry cider
 juice of half a lemon
 350 grams self-raising flour
 85 grams suet
 60 grams cold butter, grated
 1 egg
 250 ml water
 1 tsp salt


Oil or fat for sautéeing, beaten egg and milk for glazing.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 2 big clangers
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes.