A golden suet pastry encasing a savoury filling of molten cheese, sticky caramelised balsamic onions, rocket leaves and pine nuts. Just add a large bowl of salad for a great supper spread.
Makes: 4 large pastries (serves 6-8 as a main dish)
Hands-on time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes
Skill level: Needs a little skill
For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
7g unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dark muscovado sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
30g pine nuts
225g camembert cheese
40g wild rocket
For the suet pastry:
400g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
130g shredded beef (or vegetable) suet
75g unsalted butter, well chilled and diced
About 275ml ice-cold water
1 medium egg, beaten, for brushing
You will also need:
Large baking sheet, lined with baking paper
Step 1 – Start by making the caramelised onions, as the mixture needs to be cold before assembling the clangers. Heat the oil in a small, heavy-based pan (one with a lid), then add the butter and stir in the onions. Cover and cook over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until the onions are transparent and very soft. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and the sugar, then cover and cook for another 15 minutes – stirring from time to time. Uncover and leave to bubble until the mixture is very thick and jammy and all the moisture has boiled away. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, then leave until completely cold.
Step 2 – Tip the pine nuts into a dry frying pan and stir over a low heat until golden, then leave to cool. Cut the cheese into 1cm slices then cover and chill until ready to assemble. Wash and thoroughly dry the rocket (use a salad spinner if you have one). Cover and chill until needed.
Step 3 – To make the pastry: heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, add the suet and mix well. Add the butter to the bowl, toss the pieces in flour to lightly coat them, then gently rub into the flour mixture using just the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Make a well in the centre then, using a round-bladed knife, stir in enough ice-cold water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Step 4 – Turn out the dough onto a worktop lightly dusted with flour and knead gently until smooth. Weigh the dough and divide it into 4 equal portions. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out one portion to a rectangle 17cm x 29cm. Use a pizza wheel-cutter and ruler to trim the edges to give a rectangle exactly 16cm x 28cm.
Step 5 – Use beaten egg to brush a 1cm strip all around the edges of the rectangle, then start to layer the filling: arrange a quarter of the rocket down the centre of the rectangle, leaving the borders clear, then top with a quarter of the sliced cheese. Spread a quarter of the caramelised onion on top of the cheese then finally scatter with pine nuts.
Step 6 – Fold the short ends of the rectangle over the filling then fold one long side of pastry over the filling (as if making a sausage roll) until the filling is completely enclosed. Pinch the pastry to seal the seam securely. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg to glaze. Using a sharp knife, make a few slashes or air holes on the top. Repeat with the other 3 portions of dough and filling.
Step 7 – Bake the pastries in the heated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/350°F/Gas 4 and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and gold