Light, golden, flaky pastry housing a substantial seasoned, meaty, filling… is there anything more gratuitous & comforting than a good sausage roll? A British institution, gracing picnics, parties & buffets since the dawn of time (dates may not be accurate). Big, cylindrical, hand-sized feasts or small, bite-sized, mouthfuls, it’s the snack that can be enjoyed both hot or cold, all the year long.
Bangers & mash, toad in the hole, pigs in blankets, there are more than 500 different recipes & flavours for sausages here in Britain, so it’s safe to say that we’re fond on all thing’s sausage. Being a much more portable sausage based snack, you can literally find the humble sausage roll sold in every corner of this country. From the low-budget tributes sold at the likes of service stations & events to gourmet creations served as meals in gastropubs & hipster joints. Greggs (the UK’s leading bakery chain) sells 145,000,000 sausage rolls every year!
It’s nothing fancy, but it doesn’t need to be, the sausage roll owns its status as the king of savoury snacks. The essence of its appeal is undoubtedly its uncomplicated nature, it’s a crowd-pleasing wonder that instantly evokes a sense of warmth & well-being in us Brits. You can grab & eat one anywhere, at any time without the need for cutlery or fuss (in fact, you may be judged if you dare brandish a knife or fork).
I don’t think any of us are lacking a childhood memory containing the humble sausage roll, be it trying to shelter & protect it from sand & winged predators on the beach, loading up a crappy paper plate with as many cocktail rolls as possible, knowing full well that they will have disappeared before returning for a second round at the buffet table (we learn tactics young), or that smell, that saliva inducting smell of freshly baked sausage rolls at Christmas time as you patiently wait, wide-eyed for just one of them to reduce to an un-scalding temperature.
We’ve all made a sausage roll at some point in our lives, be it at home with your mam when you were little or during a cookery class at school, everyone has the ability to make them. The best thing about making them yourself (besides the immense satisfaction that is) is that you can make them whatever you like. Being such a simple little thing, with very few ingredients leaves it open to interpretation & endless possibilities for flavourings.
For me, I like something hearty & robust, packed with flavour but without being overpowering at the same time. This is what led me towards black pudding (a type of British blood sausage) with it’s rich, earthy taste it adds a little extra something to dishes but without taking over, instead it works with the other ingredients, much like a seasoning. To balance & counteract the heavy, meatiness though, I’ve added in a little sweetness in the form of apple sauce. Pork & apple sauce go together like salt & pepper, each is good on their own but better when used together.
Do I make my own puff pasty…? Of course not, for this recipe I simply do not have the patience, this is a simple, quick, ‘get in the oven so that I can eat it now’ kind of bake. I make a quick flaky rough-puff pastry instead, it works just as well as the real thing here or, if you’re in a pinch, I’ll quite happily use a ready made puff bought from the shops. These freeze extremely well, simply wrap them well & cook them straight from frozen whenever you get the urge. However or wherever you eat you sausage rolls, indoors, outdoors, hot or cold, have some self respect & eat with your hands.
PORK, BLACK PUDDING & APPLE SAUSAGE ROLLS
(makes 6 large or 8 medium)
For the flaky pastry:
- 450g strong white flour
- 100g unsalted butter, well chilled
- 110g lard, well chilled
- 175ml cold water
- pinch of salt(or you can use 320g ready made puff pastry)
For the filling:
- 245g black pudding, roughly chopped
- 445g sausage meat (if you can’t find sausage meat, squeezing the meat our of any plain pork sausages will work)
- 135g apple sauce
- A good pinch of salt & pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- To make the pastry, sift together the salt & flour into a large enough bowl
- Take 1/4 of the lard (roughly 26g), cut into small cubes & use your fingers to rub this into the flour
- Take the rest of the lard & the butter & use a grater to grate all of the fats into the bowl
- Use your hands to stir through the grated fats so that it is covered in flour & evenly distributed
- Make a small; well in the middle of the mixture & pour in the cold water
- Use a blunt knife to stir & bring the dough together (you may need to add a little more water, add it in a spoonful at a time if you do)
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface & use a rolling pin to roll it out into a long rectangle shape
- Take the top (short side) of the pastry & fold this down two thirds of the way down the length of the pastry
- Take the bottom (short side) of the pastry & fold this over the top of the piece you just folded downwards
- Cover the pasty in cling film & place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
- After the pastry has chilled, re-roll it out to a long rectangular shape & repeat the same folding method as before
- Re-cover the pastry & chill for at least 30 minutes before using
- To make the filling, in a large bowl, add the sausage, black pudding, apple sauce & seasoning
- Use your hands (or a spoon if you prefer, but using your hands is easier) to mix everything together thoroughly
- Roll out the pastry & cut it in half length-ways before dividing each half into 3 equal sized squares to make a total of six or eight squares
- Divide the sausage mix into six or eight equal sized portions
- Use a spoon (or your hands again) to mould the mixture into a sausage shape along the middle of each pastry square, leaving plenty or room at either side
- Brush the edge of each pastry with a little of the beaten egg
- Carefully roll the pastry over to tightly encase the sausage, tightly pressing both edges of the pastry together with your fingers
- Place the rolls, seam side down on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of foil or baking parchment
- Brush the top of the rolls liberally with the remainder of the beaten egg before grinding or sprinkling over over some salt & pepper (or try some nigella or sesame seeds)
- Use a sharp knife to cut 3 slits in the top of each roll to let the steam from cooking escape
- Bake the rolls at 190C for 35-40 minutes until the pastry is a nice golden colour
- Leave the rolls to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the baking sheet
- These freeze extremely well, just pop in the oven from frozen for around 25-30 minutes to heat through