We, as a family love watching the “Great British Bake Off”, yes, even Remy! Rob and I love learning about new recipes and talk about which ones we would love to make. We recently binge watched the most recent available season here in the US, Series 8, which is the first series with the new cast. While we miss Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, we do like the new folks, albeit for different reasons. The new cast is comprised of:(Baker)- Paul Hollywood, (Food Connoisseur), Pru Leith and (Hosts); Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding. In addition to the new team, the move to a different channel in the UK has brought some segment variations as well different baking fare, all of which, to us, are positive. During our binge, the “Forgotten Recipes” episode really stood out and we particularly liked the bake called “Clangers”.
What is a Clanger you ask? Simply, it’s a hand pie with a savory filling on one side, taking up 2/3rd’s of the pie and a sweet, dessert- type filling,. taking up the last 1/3rd. It’s an all-in-one meal where “back in the day,” farmers could take a clanger for lunch and have a full meal while out tending the fields all day. The original was made with a tough suet crust, which from my reading, usually wasn’t eaten, but rather acted as a barrier between the filling and the farmers dirty hands. While I sometimes look at other cooks or bakers recipes for inspiration, I rarely copy them and today is no exception. I have chosen to use a hot water crust pastry for my clangers and fill it with flavor combinations that my family enjoys.
You’re probably wondering, what does this have to do with Remy, because for those that have read my posts on Facebook, you can assume, correctly, that he is not going to be enjoying this yummy fare. Well, one of the things I like about hand pies in general, is that it can be a great sensory experience for an autistic child to help prepare. Other than it tasting very good, a hot water crust pastry is easily able to be kneaded by little hands as opposed to other pastry doughs that are a bit more finicky to work with.
It took me a little while to embrace the advice of letting Remy play with food, so he can explore textures and make what we call “Food Friends”. I still cringe inside and both Rob and I are at the ready with a wash cloth to clean sticky hands, but I digress. Making, as well as eating for that matter, any type of meat pie can be a great sensory experience with all the different food textures involved. Depending on their age and your comfort level, they also can help cutting the various ingredients up into small pieces. The knife going through the squash is very different than the potato and also, you have to remember that they don’t have to actually touch the food in order to have a new sensory experience. Lastly, covering the ingredients in a yummy pastry shell can be the perfect vehicle for some children to eat when they may not try it on its own.
I want to mention that this isn’t a meal you make at the last minute. It definitely needs some planning and ample time, but it is well worth the commitment. When I made these, I quadrupled the filling recipe and froze it, so I can make a last minute meals in the future. Actually, the very next day, I realized that I needed something for our monthly potluck at church. I was able to grab one of the gallon sized bags I had put into the freezer, whip up the pastry (really; it’s that easy) and set myself up to assemble them, while Remy and Rob were doing a puzzle. Remy would occasionally come up to help roll out the dough too. Now, you may think assembling a meal in the family room is strange, but positioning myself in Remy’s space creates opportunities for him to explore food.
Now, I am not a recipe blogger, nor have the current fortitude to learn about proper recipe templates and format. I have enough on my plate learning how to build this site. I am simply sharing a delicious recipe, and probably will in the future, as cooking is a big part of our life, so please just go old school and copy and paste away if you choose to use it!
Whether you use this recipe or not, give meat pie or “hand pies” a try! Your belly will thank you.
Balsamic Chicken and Butternut Squash- Apple Pie Clangers
Makes 6 pies
400 grams Chicken Breast
92 grams Quinoa (pre-rinsed)
250 grams of Butternut Squash
250 grams of Red Potato
100 grams of Fresh, Frozen Spinach**
1 (150 grams approx) Large Vidalia Onion
3 grams each of: Garlic Granules, Onion Power, Paprika, Cumin
1 gram dried Parsley
10 grams salt- divided
4 grams ground pepper
200 milliliters of Balsamic Vinegar
100 grams Brown Sugar
235 milliliters of chicken stock
**I use fresh spinach that I freeze as it makes it easy to crush into smaller pieces but you can chop up fresh or use prepackaged frozen spinach. My instructions are based off of fresh full leaves frozen.
Sweet Filling Ingredients
3 medium cooking apples (I used gala)
50 grams brown sugar
3 grams Cinnamon
1 gram nutmeg
2 grams salt
splash of Vanilla Extract
18 grams Cornstarch
Hot Water Crust Pastry Ingredients
500 grams Plain Flour
135 grams of Lard or Vegetable Shortening
55 grams of Butter
200 milliliters of water
7 grams salt
3 grams each of paprika and cumin
1 egg with 8 mls of water, whisked to make egg wash
Prep the Savory Filling
Cook the quinoa. Put the chicken stock and 3 grams of salt into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed.
Peel both butternut squash potatoes and onion and cut into a medium dice.
Combine the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in sauce pan and heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Combine the Cumin, Paprika, Garlic, Onion powder, parsley, 7 grams of salt and pepper and set aside
Cut chicken into a large dice. Toss with 1/3rd of the spice mixture.
Crush the frozen Fresh Spinach into small pieces.
Combine the chicken, squash, potatoes, onions, cooked quinoa, spinach. Take the next third of the spice mixture and sprinkle over Chicken mixture and toss to thoroughly combine and then repeat with the last third of spices.
Cover and set aside or put in the fridge if you wish
Make the Pastry
Combine the flour, salt and spices in heat proof large bowl and set it aside. Combine the butter, shortening and water and melt it in a sauce pan at medium heat.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the liquid into the well. Stir to incorporate all the flour. It will look a bit of a mess. Tip it onto the counter and gently kneed it until a soft dough is formed and is smooth.
Pat into a disk shape and wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes. Do not keep it in fridge for longer than 30 minutes!
Prepare the Apple Pie Filling
Peal and chop the apples into a medium dice. (I place into cold water with lemon or lime juice so the apples don’t brown but that’s optional)
Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil to thicken slightly and add the apples, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool.
Take the dough and divide it into 6 equal portions (approx 148 grams each).
Roll out each portion into roughly a 12“ by 9” rectangle
Put a scoop of 210 grams of the chicken filling on the front part of the rolled out dough, 1 inch from the sides. Spread the mixture into a 3’ by 7’ rectangle.
Put a scoop of 70 grams of the apple pie filling next to the savory filling. It should measure approximately 3” x 3” and should also have a 1” margin on the front and side edge.
Take the back half of the dough and fold it over the mixture lining it up with the front edge. Press the dough all around the 1” edge and then fold the dough margin in half, making a 1/2” margin around the filling.
Use a fork and press the tines around the margin to make a seal. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and make 3 diagonal slashes across the pastry over the filling to allow for steam to escape.
Brush Egg Wash on all pies.
Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.