Roll with it
Sausage rolls, somewhat ironically for how long they take to make, are just the perfect snack food aren’t they? I mean you can eat them for dinner, with a side of potato and some green vegetables, but it doesn’t seem right somehow. They are made for chopping up small and eating out of hand, or putting on a platter next to cocktail sausages with sticks in. Or wrapping in foil and taking on a picnic. Sturdy enough to take a good hour-long journey to the nearest heath but not heavy on the stomach; and, what’s more, they’re “normal”. Y’know, not one of those funny gluten-free picnic foods like a quinoa salad, or some bread that’s delicious but still a bit on the crumbly side to pass the test. These are one step away from a pork pie in the coeliacs-can-eat-normal-food-too stakes and I love them. Don’t be put off by the length of time these take (you’re probably looking at about 6-7 hours start to finish) – I can promise you most of it is not active. As long as you have a multitude of domestic chores to do (spring cleaning, gardening, washing, ironing, or indeed other baking in the kitchen) you will be able to fit the pastry-making around it. I’m not saying these are something to make every week, but the little bursts of effort (in between the domestic chores) are definitely worth it for the end result.
I used a slightly different puff pastry recipe to the one I used for the vegetable and goats’ cheese en croute. I’m not sure if it was because I’ve made puff pastry a few times now and was more comfortable with it, or because the ratios and flours are different, but I definitely found this pastry easier to use; it was neater and silkier. For the flours, I stuck with the original ratio, which is essentially 1 cup of starchy flour such as tapioca starch, cornflour, sweet rice flour and 1 cup of more grainy flour such as white or brown rice flour, millet, quinoa, or in my case teff, which adds a nice brown tinge to the dough, making it less anaemic looking. Be careful not to confuse sweet rice flour with white rice flour though, they are very different. Sweet rice flour is glutinous rice flour, the stuff they use to make mochi, mmm, mochi, in Japan, very fine and with similar properties to tapioca starch. If it helps at all, chances are you are looking at white rice flour in a shop, unless you’re in an ethnic supermarket, since I’ve been completely unable to find sweet rice flour in the UK so far.
50g (1/2 cup) tapioca starch
80g (1/2 cup) white rice flour
70g (1/2 cup) brown teff flour
70g (1/2 cup) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
250ml (1 cup) cold water
180g (1 1/2) sticks butter
400g pork mince
1 red onion, diced
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1. To make the pastry first mix all the flours, salt and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the centre of the flours, add the water and gradually mix the flours into the water, mixing until you have a rough dough. Bring this together with your hands, knead and pat it a few times until you have a fairly cohesive ball of dough. Pat it into a rough round, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour.
2. About 10 minutes before you take the dough or détrempe out of the fridge, remove your butter from the fridge. Measure out the correct amount then wrap it in greaseproof paper and beat it about with a rolling pin for a bit. You want to soften up the butter a little, make it pliable, but not too warm. It should be a rough square, but only about an inch thick when you have finished. Put it back in the fridge for a couple of minutes to just firm up a little again.
3. On a silicone pastry mat, or just a well-floured bench if you’re feeling masochistic, place the dough. Roll it out into a cross shape, with a raised square in the middle for the butter. (Detailed step-by-step pictures can be found here.) Place the butter in the raised centre of the dough, fold the four flaps over the butter and then gently roll and pat the dough down with your rolling pin until it is a neat square about 1-thick (and probably roughly 6-8 inches square, but I forgot to take accurate measurements). In smooth strokes roll the square into a rectangle. This one I did measure and it was about 14 inches long by about 6-8 inches across. Make sure you neaten up the edges as you go along, otherwise after 6 turns your pastry will be a mess. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, mark the bottom right corner with your thumb, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes to an hour.
4. After chilling remove the pastry from the fridge, align it so the thumbprint is in the bottom left corner and roll out again into a rectangle and fold. Repeat this until you have done 6 complete folds and turns. I found after the first turn and chill I could get two turns out of the dough before it had to be chilled again. After three turns I attempted to do three in one go but it wasn’t having it and the butter started to melt so back in the fridge it went. The most important thing is to work quickly and neatly, and give the dough plenty of time to chill. We all need time to chill. It’s very important.
5. After you have completed the final turn, chill the dough again for an hour, and then it is ready for rolling out.
6. While the dough is chilling, make the sausage filling. Mix the mince, onion, orange zest, parsley, garlic, egg and plenty of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
7. Roll out the pastry into two rectangles roughly 18×8 inches. Cut each rectangle of pastry into half lengthwise, and then crosswise, so you have quarters. Spoon out the sausage filling along the centre of the pastry strips, dampen the edges with milk and wrap the pastry around the filling. If you want to make mini sausage rolls either cut the rolls completely into small chunks, or just score the top of the rolls deeply. Brush the tops of the rolls with milk and lay on a rimmed baking sheet roughly an inch apart. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until puffed up and slightly browned on top. Leave to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before serving, and if they’re for a picnic, cool completely before cutting into bite-size portions.
Makes 8 large sausage rolls, or I’d say enough for a full meal (with sides) for 6-8 people. They last very well in the fridge as long as you don’t start snacking on them at all hours of the day and night, in which case they’ll only last a day or two.