This traditional suet pastry encloses a sweet, spiced mix of fresh fruits: plums, crisp dessert apples and tart Bramley cookers. Served with a rich chocolate sauce.
Makes: 4 large pastries, serves 8
Hands-on time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes
Skill level: Needs a little skill
For the filling:
5 medium plums, just ripe
2 medium Granny Smith apples
1 medium Bramley apple
50g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
For the suet-crust pastry:
350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
100g unsalted butter, frozen
150g shredded beef (or vegetable) suet
About 250ml ice cold water
1 medium egg, beaten, for brushing
For the chocolate sauce:
60g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped
40g milk chocolate (about 35% cocoa solids), chopped
50g unsalted butter, diced
250ml double cream
You will also need:
Pizza wheel cutter
Large baking sheet, lined with baking paper
Step 1 – Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Prepare the filling first so the fruit has time to absorb the spices: rinse the plums, halve and remove the stones. Cut each half into 4 and put into a large bowl. Peel, quarter and core the Granny Smith and Bramley apples then chop into chunks of about 1cm. Add to the plums, then sprinkle over the sugar, ground cinnamon and cloves and toss everything together gently. Set aside.
Step 2 – To make the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Dip the butter in the flour then grate on top, using the coarse side of the grater. Rub into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the suet and make a well in the centre of the mixture. Using a round-bladed knife, stir in enough of the ice cold water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Step 3 – Turn out the dough onto a well-floured worktop and roll out with a floured rolling pin to a rectangle 61cm x 26cm – keep checking that the dough is not sticking to the worktop. Using a pizza wheel cutter and ruler, trim the dough to an exact 60cm x 25cm rectangle, then cut again into four neat strips each 15cm x 25cm.
Step 4 – Brush beaten egg in a 1cm border all around the edges of each dough rectangle. Divide the filling in 4 (draining well to leave any juices back in the bowl) and arrange one portion down the centre of each strip, leaving the egg-lined borders free. Fold the 2 short ends over the filling, then lift one long side over the filling and gently roll towards the other long edge as if making a sausage roll. Pinch the pastry seam to seal securely. The filling must be totally enclosed to avoid leaks – patch any holes or tears with scraps of pastry and dabs of beaten egg.
Step 5 – Carefully transfer the cylinder of pastry to the lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg to glaze. Make several diagonal slashes across the top. Repeat with the other 3 dough rectangles and remaining filling.
Step 6 – Bake in the heated oven for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/Gas 4 and bake for a further 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.
Step 7 – Towards the end of the baking time, make the sauce: put both chopped chocolates into a small, heavy-based pan with the butter and cream and set over a low heat. Stir until the sauce is melted, smooth and hot. Pour into a warmed sauce jug and serve with the hot clangers.