Bedfordshire Clanger: Gargantuan Pastry Dish Includes Apples

Bedfordshire clangers
Clanger! Thanks to Love Food for the image.

Along with bangers and mash, this clanger is about as rustic and hearty as you can get. It looks like a, sort of, pastry trudgen. But is tastier.

It’s not the famous British dish by a long shot and is quite scarce across the country. But it’s easy enough to make, if you like this type of thing.

What’s the Bedfordshire Clanger?

It’s a long suet crust dumpling that’s, essentially, a roly-poly pudding. As it looks a bit like an arctic roll dessert. But it isn’t!

It’s more of an elongated pasty, served as it is hot. And the main ingredients consists of liver or other meat, potatoes, onions, and suet pastry.

It can also include jams and that type of thing to add a sweet punch to proceedings.

Some chefs also chuck sage into the mix. Which is nice.

Its name is interesting as, in England, the word “clanger” can refer to something of a disaster. “He dropped a clanger!” for instance, if referring to PM Boris Johnson’s latest vacuous endeavour.

It’s the type of speciality you pick up from a local bakers. As it takes quite a bit of time to prep and who can be bothered with all of that?

What’s the History of the Bedfordshire Clanger?

The Bedfordshire clanger hails from Bedfordshire (obviously), which is in the East of England.

It’s home to the likes of Bedford, Biggleswade, Dunstable, Luton, Leighton Buzzard, and Arlesey.

The dish emerged in the 19th century, with the term “clanger” being bracketed into the “heavy” meaning of things. Linguist Joseph Wright (1855-1930) classed the dish so.

As the dish has a dense consistency, much like a pasty. But it’s more on an epic scale.

The clanger came about from working class roots, with farm labourers clamouring for something to chow down upon.

As the dish was portable whether cold or hot, it could be eaten when they returned home from a day of being working class, lazy scumbags.

The Bedfordshire clanger could also just sit at home waiting for the person to return back from their job. Kind of one of the reasons why Lancashire hotpots became so popular, you see?

So for a few hundred years, fieldworkers would consume a clanger for lunch or tea.

Since then it’s morphed into yet another comfort food tradition for us Brits, although the dish is pretty obscure and usually only located in Bedfordshire.

As with the butter pie up north, some folks in England just don’t do that.

England can be quite cliquey with its food traditions and we guess this is another example. Although the clanger is quite similar to a beef wellington, just minus the mass of beef.

How Do You Make a Bedfordshire Clanger?

To make a Bedfordshire clanger you can refer here to Bottom and The Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson.

But in general, the ingredients you’ll need for this SOB include:

1 gammon joint
600ml of cider
1 bay leaf
2 sage leaves
2 apples
1 white onion
25g butter
2g salt
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
3 apples
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
10g melted butter
Lemon juice
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
10g Dijon mustard

Plus, some pastry to wrap all of that lot up in. You hear? So you can assemble all of that if you so wish.

Or just catch a plane to Bedfordshire and indulge in the stuff until you’re fit to burst.


    • That works fine. Drunken cooking is often some of the best (and worst) cooking in the world! However, if you drink too much cider you’ll forget about the clanger and wander off to get a kebab and start a fight. So, be careful!


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