With the cold weather that has swept the country over the last few days, I turned to baking hot, buttery sausage rolls, flavoured with sage, wholegrain mustard and mature cheddar cheese. I used fresh sage from the herb garden, which I managed to harvest just before the snow fell.
This recipe uses 310g puff pastry. You will need to start making the pastry a couple of days before you are going to bake your sausage rolls. If you are short on time or don’t like making pastry, you can buy ready-made all butter puff pastry (avoid the margarine kind). Because 310g puff pastry is such a small amount, I would recommend doubling / quadrupling the quantities and making some batches of puff to freeze for future use.
This makes 18 sausage rolls, sliced into 3cm chunks.
For the puff pastry
If you’re going to buy ready-made pastry, you can skip straight to the filling section below.
Place your block of butter between two sheets of baking parchment. Ridge it out with a rolling pin, and flatten it into a rectangle approximately 1cm thick. Store it in the fridge while you make your dough.
Rub the 12g lard / butter into the flour and salt with your fingers. Once you have the beginnings of a breadcrumb-like consistency add about 3 teaspoons of water, and then add the rest gradually. You may not need all of it. Bring it together with a blunt kitchen knife or palette knife. It will look a bit like a firm bread dough. Knead it for a few minutes to aid the gluten development. Bring it together with your hands to form a disc. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 1 hour (ideally longer if you have the time, or overnight).
Encase the rectangle of butter in the dough like a parcel. Take your dough out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough, and roll it out to 1cm thick in a rough square – just big enough to encase the butter without any overlaps. Rotate it as you roll to ensure it does not stick. Place the rectangle of butter in the centre. Take each side of the dough and fold them over the top of the butter so that all the sides meet, sealing the edges together so that the butter is entirely encased in the dough.
Use a rolling pin to ridge the dough into a rectangle, and gently start rolling it out until it is three times as long as it is wide. Fold it into three layers, a third of the length each. Turn the pastry by 90 degrees and repeat; ridging, rolling out and folding. Wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge for an hour.
Repeat this process three times in total, so the pastry will have had six turns – two turns each time – followed by an hour or so refrigeration after each time. Keep a note of how many rolls you have done. If you do more than seven, the layers will become too thin. Once you have finished your turns, place it in the fridge overnight, or for at least 6-8 hours. It is then ready to use.
For the sausage meat filling
When you are ready to bake the sausage rolls, pre-heat your oven to 180°C (fan oven) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Mix the sausage meat with the breadcrumbs and sage in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
Liberally flour your work surface. Roll your puff pastry out to a rectangle of roughly 58cm by 14cm, and to about 3mm thick. You can use a sharp knife to trim and neaten it up if the edges are uneven.
Evenly spread the mustard along the pastry, roughly 2.5cm from the edge to leave a crust, and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the mustard. Follow it with the sausage meat. Brush the exposed edge of the pastry with beaten egg. Fold the pastry over neatly to encase the sausage meat, and use a fork to seal the edges together, crimping them down. Delicately brush the sausage roll with a light coating of beaten egg. Place it on the baking tray, and put it in the fridge to firm up for 10-15 minutes.
Slice it into individual sausage rolls, to the size you want (I slice them into 3-4cm chunks for canapés / nibbles).
Bake for 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. If you’re cooking large sausage rolls, be aware they may take a bit longer, up to another 10 minutes or so.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. These are best eaten on the day of making, although they will last for a day or two if you store them wrapped in cling film in the fridge.