Sausage rolls are a staple in British culture. They’re great for a lunch box, picnic and are always on hand at a buffet. I mean there’s even been two Christmas Number 1’s dedicated to loving sausage rolls…seriously. I’m a big fan, and I make them a lot for family lunches.
With that being said though, sausage rolls aren’t something I spend a lot of time on. I usually just grab a packet of pre-made puff pastry from the supermarket, whip up a quick filling and go. Now, I would never buy pre-made shortcrust pastry as its super simple to make and honestly homemade tastes MILES better. But with puff pastry being a longer and trickier process to create, I’ve usually taken the easy route.
But! I decided to spend a little more time and make my own pastry for these rolls, and to be honest I don’t think I’ll go back to the pre-made puff. Because unsurprisingly it tasted way better! And as I only made rough-puff it wasn’t too long a process. With all that being said though, I won’t judge you if you stick with the pre-made when you need a quick sausage roll fix!
So how do we make it?
Unlike shortcrust pastry where you want to rub in the cold butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, the key to puff pastry is keeping lumps of butter within the dough. When the pastry is cooking the butter melts, which creates a pocket of steam which expands and creates the flaky pastry we know and love. So do not overwork this dough! An easy way to help this, is by using a blunt knife to ‘mix’ the dough. This way you don’t soften the butter too much with your hands and keep the lumps of butter fairly large. Once you’ve added the water you can use your hands, but only mix until the dough has just come together.
Onto the filling i.e the best bit!
What makes these sausage rolls so good is adding English mustard and ketchup inside the rolls. The mustard gives just enough kick (though how much you add is really up to personal preference!) and the ketchup adds a sweetness that give the sausage rolls that little extra something special. The other key is the red onions; cooked until they are just caramelising. Caramelised red onion sausages are my absolute favourite. The sticky caramelised flavour is just gorgeous! So in a sausage roll, combined with the mustard and ketchup? Ah its just perfection.
Honestly, for me, store bought sausage rolls just don’t compare at all. I would always rather spend the time to make these, and still warm from the oven they don’t last long!!
On with the recipe:
Plaited Sausage Rolls
- 200 g plain flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 200 g unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 100 ml ice-cold water
- 3 medium red onions
- 450 g sausagemeat (or 8 sausages with skins removed)
- 1 medium egg
- 50 g dried breadcrumbs
- 30 g fresh curly leaf parsley
- English mustard
- 1 medium egg beaten
- For the pastry: Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using a blunt knife roughly mix the butter into the flour. You want to maintain lumps of butter, so don’t mix too hard. Pour in half of the water and stir to combine, then pour in the remaining water until the mixture just comes together (you may not need all the water).
- Tip the mixture out onto a floured work surface and roll into a long rectangle with the short edge facing you. You want it to be around 15cmx45cm. Then fold the top third of the dough down over the middle third, and fold the bottom third up over the two-thirds, as if you are folding a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees so the open ends are facing you and repeat the rolling and folding process. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes, then repeat the rolling and folding process twice more, before chilling again for 1hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan and place baking paper over a large baking tray.
- For the filling: Firstly slice the red onions finely and place in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat with a little oil. Cook, stirring every now and then until they are well softened and about to caramelise. Then take off the heat and leave to cool slightly. In a large bowl add the sausagemeat, egg, breadcrumbs and parsley and combine thoroughly – you may need to use your hands. Then season well.
- To assemble, roll the chilled pastry out into a large square – approx. 40cm. Then divide into three rectangles, with the short ends facing you. Smear English mustard down the middle of each rectangle, and top with a squiggle of ketchup and a layer of onions. Divide the sausagemeat filling into three long sausages and place on top of the onions.
- Using a knife, slice the pastry diagonally down each side of the filling (see picture above) and then wrap over the filling alternating each side to create a plait. Cut each long sausage into 4 so you end up with 12 sausage rolls. Place them onto the baking tray and brush the beaten egg over each sausage roll. Bake for 25-28mins until golden brown. Leave to cool a little, then enjoy.