Dame Judy Dench. Rain. Sausage rolls. Each one, a pillar of British culture.
For me, a sausage roll reminds me of Christmas day when we’d have them in the morning at Mum’s. For James, it reminds him of when he tries to snaffle down a sausage roll before he gets home every time he goes to the shops *eye roll*.
This recipe uses homemade flaky pastry (also known as rough puff pastry). I’m not really a fan of shop-bought pastry, unless it’s the all-butter kind. Though it’s great if you’re lactose intolerant, I just think the vegetable spread doesn’t give half the flavour that the butter-based pastry gives – plus flaky pastry is pretty easy to make. Just be sure to chill the butter between each fold and roll.
Flaky Pastry Sausage Rolls
For the pastry:
- 175g chilled unsalted butter
- 350g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- approx. 100ml cold water
For the filling:
- 800g sausage meat (or pre-made sausages if you want a certain flavour)
- small bunch of sage leaves
- 100g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1½ tsp table salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- Cube the cold butter and place in a mixing bowl with the flour and salt. Then gradually add the water a little bit at a time, mixing with your hands until it forms one dough with the butter cubes inside it (you may not need all the water).
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle which measures approximately 40cm long by 20cm wide. Now imagine your dough is one long rectangle which is divided into thirds. Fold down the first third of the dough to cover the second third, then fold the bottom third up and place over the first and second third. Now chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up the butter.
- Take the dough out the fridge and roll it out again to the same size, making sure to flour your surface regularly so it doesn’t stick. Repeat folding the dough in thirds, then turn the dough 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and roll out again. Repeat the process another three times, then rest the dough in the fridge for 45 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, chop up the sage leaves and place in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Scrunch the mix through with your hands until it is well incorporated. Chill in the fridge then pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
- Take the dough out the fridge and roll out into one large rectangle measuring 80cm long and 15cm wide. Place the filling along the long side of the pastry, about 4cm from the edge. Beat an egg, then brush it along the 4cm gap (this will help seal the pastry). Fold the larger pastry side tightly over the filling, then press down into the egg wash to seal. Take a fork and press the prongs into the pastry edge to crimp, then trim the excess.
- With a very sharp knife, cut the long sausage roll into 18 individual rolls. Brush with the remaining egg wash, then sprinkle the fennel and nigella seeds over the top. Line two baking trays with baking paper, place the sausage rolls on top, and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden on top. Once baked, they’re best eaten warm!