How to make sausage rolls

Flaky pastry, spiced mince, and please, don't forget the tomato sauce. Here's how to get the party started.
Photo: Ben Dearnley & William Meppem

What’s a party without a sausage roll? Not one we’d like to be invited to. Wrapped in a blanket of golden puff pastry, these classic finger-food morsels are the perfect one-handed party snack (to keep your other hand free for a Champagne glass, of course!).

The secret to a good sausage roll is the pastry – it should be sturdy enough to contain the filling yet wonderfully flaky when you take a bite. For the best result we prefer to make our own, but if you’re short on time use a good-quality store-bought pastry, such as Carême all-butter puff. Crank the oven – let’s get this party started.

The recipe below is for classic beef sausage rolls, but you can mix it up with different herbs and spices, or add grated parmesan for extra flavour. Alternatively, replace the minced beef with pork (make sure it’s fatty) and add toasted fennel seeds to replicate the beloved pork and fennel version from Sydney’s Bourke Street Bakery.

How to make sausage rolls, step by step

This recipe makes 24 rolls and takes 1 hour and 20 minutes (plus cooling).

1 To make rough puff pastry, place 3 cups (450gm) bread flour and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Rub in 500gm cold, unsalted, chopped butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre.

Add 1 cup (250ml) chilled water and mix gently with a butter knife to a streaky dough. Knead for 2 minutes or until a firm rough dough forms. Shape dough into a rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled (20 minutes).

Step 1.

2 Roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 20cm x 50cm rectangle, with the short side in front of you. Fold dough into thirds by bringing the top third down over the middle third, then the bottom third up to cover the folded dough. Turn pastry a quarter-turn to the right. Roll out to a rectangle again; repeat folding, turning and rolling two more times, three times in total. Cut dough in half crossways. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for a further 20 minutes.

Step 2.

3 To make sausage filling, dry-roast 1 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds, and ½ tsp black peppercorns in a frying pan over high heat until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Cool briefly, then finely pound with a mortar and pestle, and reserve. Heat olive oil in same frying pan over medium heat, add 1 finely chopped small onion and fry gently until softened and translucent (10-12 minutes), then transfer to a bowl to cool (15 minutes).

4 Soak 80gm breadcrumbs in 1 tbsp milk until soft (1 minute), then combine in a large bowl with 600gm minced beef, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, cooked onion and pounded spices; mix well and season. To check seasoning, fry a little mixture and taste.

5 Preheat oven to 200°C. Line three oven trays with baking paper. Roll one half of the dough into a 30cm x 50cm rectangle; trim edges to straighten. Cut dough crossways into four rectangles, about 12cm x 28cm in size. Divide beef mixture into eight portions. Shape each portion into a log with moistened hands. Place a log along the long side of a pastry rectangle; roll up to enclose. Place seam-side down on trays. Repeat with remaining pastry and beef mixture. Refrigerate until chilled (15 minutes).

6 Cut each roll into three pieces and brush with eggwash. Cut a couple of slashes in the top of each roll, then season with salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper. Bake sausage rolls, in two batches, until puffed and golden (20 minutes). Serve with homemade tomato sauce or relish.

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