Great British Blog Off 2017



So, we reached the final 5 contestants in the Great British Bake Off tent, and although I liked Liam, and he is a damned fine baker for a young fellow-me-lad, I do think this week was not his best, although again I can’t say it seemed (to me at least) that it was any too taxing for week eight, is it just me or does there seem like a lot of pastry and similar dough recipes this year (or is that just because my food processor is broken and the stupid delivery company – DPD – have lost my new one so I have to make mine by hand).  Yet again this week I could not decide on what to bake so I have done my usual 2.  I opted not to do the show stopper as it was just far too much cake for a family of 3 and I loathe to cook for the hens.  So, as I have seen the recipe for a Rum Nicky before, and liked the sound of it then, I was looking forward to trying it and the clangers too which I was going  with savoury mince meat with erm sweet mince meat.  However, I dropped a bit of a clanger (pardon the pun) when I prepped my pastry, as I just went ahead with ‘normal’ pastry without googling clangers.  Then I remembered they made it with suet on GBBO.  So, after checking out Mr Hollywoods’ recipe I realised that the Bedfordshire clanger is akin to the Lancashire rag pudding (which is steamed rather than baked) a huge favourite of mine so I made them instead so they are similar though not the same as they do not have a sweet end. And the batch of pastry I’d started was saved with the addition of sugar to make sweet crust for the Nicky.

ohh, and one final thing they are old recipes so they are in old weights too! Hey, most modern electronic scales in the UK have conversions.


No 1:  Savoury Mince Rag Pudding


8oz self-raising flour
4oz suet
approx 1/3 cup water 
½lb beef mince
1 small onion
1 large carrot
1 red pepper
½ inch black pudding
good pinch rosemary
salt and pepper
some pre-made gravy
egg for sealing (or water)


  1. Make the pastry.  Put the flour and suet in a bowl, stir, then add the water a little at a time as you may not need it all and bring together to form a firm dough. cover the bowl and leave in a cool place to rest.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling.  Put the mince into a bowl.  Mince up the onion, then carrot, then pepper and finally the black pudding in a food processor or chopper and add it to the mince meat.  Season and add enough gravy to make it really wet and gloopy.
  3. Divide the pastry into four and shape into rectangles.  Roll out nice and thin, on a well floured board, to about 6×7 inches.  place approx 2 heaped tablespoons of the mince mix in the middle of the pastry and spread out to within ¾” of the top and sides and 1″ of the bottom.  coat the edges with egg and roll the pastry up like a Swiss roll then pinch down the edges to seal, so nothing leaks out. Repeat with the other 3.
  4. Wrap each one of the ‘sausages’ in a rag! Or the modern version of parchment backed foil. and crimp all the edges together to form a sealed parcel.
  5. Place them all in a steamer and steam for 1½ hours when the meat will be lovely and tender and the pastry will be thoroughly cooked.

This recipe is traditionally done with small pieces of beef skirt, with onion gravy; I adore rag pudding but have never thought to make it myself, odd for someone who both bakes a lot and misses this Lancashire delicacy since moving down to Derbyshire. So I will definitely make them again. Especially as suet pastry is one of the most simple and robust pastries of any.

No 2:  Tropical Rum Nicky


10oz plain flour
2oz maize flour
4oz butter
2oz lard
2oz castor sugar
1 egg (beaten lightly)
14oz of your favourite dried fruit 
2oz stem ginger
4tbs dark rum
1½oz coconut or dark soft sugar
2oz unsalted butter
1 egg (beaten lightly) or milk
Sprinkle of coconut sugar (or granulated)


  1. Make the pastry combine the 2 flours (or just use all plain if you prefer), chop the fat up really small and then rub it into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.  mix in the sugar.  make a well in the middle and add the egg, gently bring it all together to make a firm, but neither dry nor wet pastry dough. Cover in the bowl and leave in a cool place for half hour to rest.
  2. Place the fruit in a bowl, finely chopping the ginger and lightly chopping any large or hard dried fruit (this recipe was stem ginger, semi dry and fresh figs, pineapple and cherries). Pour the rum over the fruit, cover and allow to steep.IMG_2165
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Add the sugar to the fruit and stir in.
  4. Cut the pastry into 2, (¹⁄3 and ²⁄3), keep the smaller covered and roll the bigger piece out to just larger than the size of your pie dish (8/9 inches 24 cm).  Line the dish with the pastry and gently form into the dish. Tumble in the fruit and dot all over with little knobs of the butter.
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into even, thin strips; 10 to 12 will be ample, roughly ½ to ¾ inch thick. Make your lattice weave on a piece of parchment or your rolling mat.  Lay the first 6 flat, then fold each alternative one all the way down,IMG_2167 lay the first of the remaining 6 over the 3 uprights, IMG_2168then bring the folded down strips up. Now, go to the other 3 of the original 6 and take them all the way down to the cross piece and add a second from the retained pieces. Repeat this until 5 or 6 of the retained pieces are incorporated. IMG_2169Sounds complicated, but as you see in the photos it’s not, and it gives a nice even finish.IMG_2170
  6. Now for the tricky bit.  you need to carefully but quickly flip the lattice over and onto the top of your pie (this is why I prefer the rolling mat as it is firmer than baking paper).  Gently ease each piece as straight as you can without damaging the actual pastry.  Fold the lattice back at the edges and egg or milk wash the edges of the pie fold the lattice down and gently press together.  IMG_2172
  7. Egg or milk wash the lattice and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Pop in the oven for approx 30 minutes.  Check at around 20/25 if the edges of the pie are catching cover with a little foil as the pie needs to be well baked to cook off the liquid and avoid a soggy bottom!
  8. Once baked, remove from the oven, leaving in the dish, and eat when warm, not hot, with a little of what you fancy.  Traditionally served with rum butter, but you could have it with yogurt, creme fresh, cream, custard or ice-cream.IMG_2176

So no real top tips this week again, with the exception that I would highly recommend a product if you bake a lot of pies and in particular quiches and open tarts, or similar pastry that is baked blind.  And the thing you need is a silicone pie ring (mine is from Lakeland but I’m sure you can get them from any good baking and cooking supplier) which sits hugging the outside edge of a pie and is size alterable.  As you can see from the photo of my Rum Nicky it is a weeny bit over cooked, without the pie ring it would have burnt on the edges.

Rum Nicky, oh yes, now there’s something I will be making again, as will I try the original recipe for rag pudding with beef skirt and onion gravy as it was rather delish.  If you want to see who else blogged along with the Great British Bake Off this week click on this link to our host Jenny’s site





One thought on “Great British Blog Off 2017

  1. your lattice pie looks really lovely ! I like the idea of a tropical version for the filling.
    I have not heard of rag pudding either until now – is it a forgotten bake too? maybe it will be revived next year on GBBO? It looks tasty anyway
    thank you for baking along (twice again lol!) with #GBBOBloggers2017


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