This is the third posting related to my holy trinity of meat-stuffed pastries – the Argentine empanada, the Australian Meat Pie and the Bedfordshire Clanger.
I hear your collective gasps, Citizens – just what the hell *IS* a Bedfordshire Clanger?
Put simply – it’s a very unique and little-known meat pie recipe from England, specifically (not surprisingly) the county of Bedfordshire which is nestled in the very beating heart of the country. For the record, I also dearly love Cornish Pasties, Melton Mowbray pie and a host of others classic English meat pie recipes – these will be featured in future posts. I want to highlight the humble Clanger as the least known, yet just as delicious alternative to these more well-known recipes, particularly since it includes dessert!
Bedfordshire is a bucolic and agrarian county (with the town of Luton now a center of the automotive and tech industry), and in centuries past many of the working husbands of the area used to toil in the fields there. Their wives, knowing their husbands would need lots of protein and carbohydrate sustenance, came up with the brilliant idea of a doubled, loaf-shaped pie. One end containing a savory filling that used the famed pork of the area while the other end was filled with stewed apples (made from the famed local apples) as dessert!
This was brilliant, an entire meal for the hard-working man – handheld, portable and delicious. Traditionally there was a secret code to denote which end was meat and which was dessert: two tiny holes on one end of the pastry top means meat, three knife slits on the other shows the sweet.
You can still find this as a local recipe in Bedfordshire, but it deserves to be far better known. Thus, I took it upon myself to come up with a TFD recipe worthy of our citizens and their enjoyment! It includes a few ingredients not found in the original, but I find the judicious addition of roasted onion jam – you can buy it from Amazon (or use herb or some form of pepper jelly of your choice), a dash of hot sauce, a bit of garlic and thyme livens up an already great flavor. I’ve also added some pears to the stewed apple and a touch of orange flavor as well.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
PS – as to why the name “Clanger” – in the nearby Northamptonshire dialect, ‘clang’ means to eat voraciously!
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