My mum and dad were talking about school dinners they used to eat when they were little. Not a promising start to finding inspiration for new recipes, you might think. But this is one they both said they used to love but don’t see or hear about any more. So I thought I’d give it a go.
I looked up recipes for various suet puddings in my mum’s old cookbooks. There were plenty of fruit-based ones but not many savoury and they all tended to be steamed puddings that needed hours and hours of cooking time.
Good old Google provided me with a recipe. I used this for the quantities but changed the method to avoid it being soggy. Nobody wants flobby soggy bacon, do they?!
220g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
210ml cold water
1 onion, finely chopped
6 rashers of bacon, snipped up into little bits
2-3tbs sweet onion chutney (optional)
Fry off the bacon and onion together. Sometimes bacon can give off a lot of water so you want to get rid of most of that liquid before putting it into the pastry.
Meanwhile sift the flour and salt into a bowl, mix in the suet with a fork. Gradually add the water until it only just comes together into a soft dough that isn’t sticky.
Roll out the dough onto a well-dusted surface. Make sure you flour the top of the dough and the rolling pin to avoid it sticking. You need a rough rectangle shape. Easier said than done but it’s not the end of the world if it’s a bit wonky.
Now I spread the pastry with some caramelised onion chutney. As you know, I use this A LOT. It’s totally optional but make sure you leave a gap all around the edge. Some tomato puree or passata might be a good alternative. Or just leave it out altogether. Next spread the bacon mixture out on top, again leaving a gap around the edge of the pastry.
I used a pastry brush to dampen the edge of the pastry with a little water. This will help it to stick together and keep its shape.
Now the tricky bit. Carefully lift the edge of the pastry up and start rolling. The filling will squidge out a bit when you get towards the outer edge. Just stuff it back in and the moistened edge will seal it closed. Gently pick the whole thing up and place it on an oiled baking tray. Make sure the seam is on the bottom to stop it pinging open when it cooks.
At this point I clingfilmed it until later so you could prepare this ahead of time if you want it ready to chuck in the oven when you get home. Bake it at 200 degrees for 25 minutes or until it’s all golden on top.
My dad tells me it was traditionally served with a white onion gravy. I served mine with mash and regular gravy but it’s entirely up to you.
I think some sliced mushrooms would be good added to the bacon mixture. There are a lot of possibilities for different fillings. What would you put in yours?