The secret to the ultimate sausage roll

Calum Franklin's Ultimate Sausage Roll.
Calum Franklin's Ultimate Sausage Roll. Photo: John Carey

Chef and precision pastry expert Calum Franklin's book, The Pie Room, is named after his pie hole-in-the-wall workshop within London's Rosewood Hotel. Franklin has resurrected and celebrated classic British pastries and puddings, which form the crux (or rather, crust) of his Holborn Dining Room restaurant menu. Here he shares his super-neat sausage roll recipe.

The ultimate sausage roll

In an attempt to find the perfect example, we have tested different flavours and textures for the filling of our sausage rolls at The Pie Room. It always comes back to one thing: simplicity. The filling should be tasty but not overcrowded with too many flavours and textures. The addition of a little chopped bacon and a few thyme leaves are the only changes we make, but the devil is in the detail. For me, the key to the ultimate sausage roll actually lies in the ratio of meat to pastry. When the meat takes longer to cook, the crisper the pastry will be.

INGREDIENTS

The Pie Room by Calum Franklin.
The Pie Room by Calum Franklin. Photo: John Carey
  • 400g rough puff pastry (see recipe below, or shop-bought puff pastry)
  • 2 egg yolks beaten with 2 tsp water, for brushing
  • pinch of black sesame seeds
  • pinch of white sesame seeds

For the filling

  • 700g Cumberland sausages (peppery pork sausages), skins removed 
  • 150g streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 25g thyme, leaves picked
  • ⅓ tsp table salt
  • large pinch of freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to 5mm thick in a 40cm x 25cm rectangle. Slide the rolled-out pastry onto the lined tray and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the sausagemeat, bacon, thyme, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well with your hands. Fill a large plastic piping bag with the sausagemeat filling. If you don't have a piping bag, shape the filling into a 6cm wide sausage and wrap tightly in clingfilm, firmly twisting the ends. Chill the filling in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the rolled-out pastry from the refrigerator and dust off any excess flour from the surface. Leave the pastry on the baking paper.
  4. Using kitchen scissors, snip the tip of the piping bag to make a 5cm wide opening. Working from one end of the pastry rectangle, slowly pipe the sausagemeat filling down the length of the pastry 6cm inside one edge. Alternatively, remove the clingfilm from the sausagemeat, unwrapping it over the pastry rectangle, and place the filling 6cm inside one edge of the pastry.
  5. Lightly brush the larger exposed area of pastry all over with egg wash, leaving the narrow 6cm border clear. Fold the egg-washed pastry over the filling to meet the narrow border, align the pastry edges and press firmly together.
  6. Lightly dust the tines of a fork with flour and tap off any excess. Working down the length of the seam, firmly press the ends of the fork into the pastry to leave an impression of the tines. Whenever necessary, dust the fork with more flour to stop it sticking to the pastry.
  7. Lightly brush the sausage roll all over with egg wash and return to the refrigerator for 10 minutes to allow the egg wash to dry. Brush a second layer of egg wash over the sausage roll and then, using a sharp knife, lightly score the top of the pastry with diagonal lines all the way down its length. (This gives the pastry a little stretching room and stops it from tearing open at the seam.) Return the sausage roll to the refrigerator to chill for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional).
  9. Trim a little off the fluted seam of the pastry to neaten it into a straight edge, then brush a final layer of egg wash all over the sausage roll. Sprinkle the black and white sesame seeds along the top of the roll. Pop the tray into the preheated oven and bake the sausage roll for 25 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the filling with a digital probe thermometer – you are looking for 75C or above. If necessary, return the sausage roll to the oven and check the temperature again every 5 minutes until it reaches 75C. Alternatively, insert a metal skewer into the centre of the sausage roll and then press it against your hand – it should be very hot to the touch.
  10. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the sausage roll to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before cutting the sausage roll with a serrated knife into eight equal slices. Serve warm with spoonfuls of chutney.

Serves 4

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Rough puff pastry

This is a quicker, simpler dough to make than the classic puff pastry. However, it does result in a more rustic and uneven rise, but that is not always such a terrible thing. I actually prefer rough puff pastry for certain pies specifically because it lends that homely look. Rough puff will rise only to about 70 per cent of the height of a classic puff, so misses some of the drama, but it is a good entry-level dough to make first in the lead-up to building a properly laminated classic puff pastry. This recipe creates a large batch of pastry, so divide it into smaller amounts based on the recipes you plan to make before wrapping and freezing for later use.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g plain flour
  • 1 tsp fine table salt
  • 500g butter, chilled and diced
  • 250ml ice-cold water

METHOD

  1. If making the pastry by hand, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and butter. Using your fingers, gently mix to a rough dough. If making the pastry using a mixer, sift the flour into the bowl and add the salt and butter. Using a paddle attachment, work at a medium speed for 2–3 minutes until the butter has formed small nuggets and the mixture becomes grainy.
  2. Add the ice-cold water all at once to the flour and butter and continue at a medium speed just to bring the dough together. The dough should not be well mixed; you want the dough to be straggly and rough, with the fats still visible, so don't work it for too long.
  3. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and carefully knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated. Flatten the dough slightly, wrap it tightly in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle measuring 50cm by 30cm, using the sides of your hands to make sure the edges are neat and square. Dust any excess flour from the surface of the dough. With the shortest side closest to you, visually divide the dough horizontally into thirds and very lightly dampen the centre third with a little water, then fold the bottom one third of the dough over the centre third. Repeat by folding the remaining top third over the double layer of dough.
  5. Turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise and repeat the rolling and folding process. This makes up the first two turns. Tightly wrap the dough in clingfilm. Lightly press your finger into the bottom right-hand corner of the dough to make an indentation which signifies how the dough was positioned on the board before you put it into the refrigerator. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Unwrap the dough and place it on your work surface with the indent in the same position as before at the bottom right-hand corner. Next, turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise and repeat the rolling and folding processes two more times for the final two turns. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes before it is ready to use.

This rough puff pastry dough can be kept for up to three days in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer. If freezing, weigh out the dough into the quantities needed for individual recipes – it will take less time to thaw and you won't be potentially wasting any dough. To use the dough from the freezer, allow it to come back to refrigerator temperature overnight.

Makes 1.25kg

This is an edited extract from The Pie Room by Calum Franklin, published by Bloomsbury, RRP $52.99, buy now