I am hopping back across to savoury pastures again today. With my primary food groups currently being mince pies and candy canes, it felt only necessary.
Does anyone else feel like it’s far warmer this year than last? Winter? Hello? Are you there? It’s hard enough feeling festive when it’s a not so cool 18°C, but 30°C in December? REALLY? It’s warmer than your average British summer. It’s completely ridiculous. While I would love to shnuggle up and pretend that baby it’s cold outside (see what I did there), the real fact of the matter is that it’s not. So I thought I would simply rise to this ridiculous weather situation, and whip up a festive picnic bake. A picnic at Christmas? Now that really is absurd.
A traditional British picnic isn’t complete without a good old sausage roll, and today’s bake is the “Made in Chelsea” of sausage rolls. Based on an old family recipe which my Nan used to make for parties, this seasonal sausage plait looks much more complicated than it actually is. What’s also great is that it is a hugely adaptable recipe. I used apple and sage for this one, but you could spice it up with a zingy sausage filling with roasted red pepper, or even go down the Greek route by using a plainer sausage filling (lincolnshire perhaps?) topped with sun-dried tomato and feta, and served with fresh tzaziki. Those were just a few suggestions off the top of my head, but the options are endless! Now go and wow your chums. Merry baking y’all!
Preheat oven to 220°C (or whatever temperature it says on the pack of pastry)
1 sheet of read-to-roll puff pastry (I used Jus-Rol)
6 pork and apple sausages
1 small onion, finely chopped and softened in
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 small handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
Cheddar cheese to top
1 egg (for the egg-wash)
1/ Remove the sausage meat from the skins and place in a bowl.
2/ Arrange the meat along the centre of the pastry sheet on a baking tray lengthways in a roll about 4cm in diameter.
3/ With floured fingers to avoid sticking, create a shallow well along the top of the sausage meat, and fill with finely chopped, softened onion.
4/ Arrange sliced apple along the the top of the filling, and sprinkle chopped sage on top.
5/ Cut plait strands, about 1.5cm wide, ensuring that there are an equal number on either side of the meat. Each strand should reach about half way down the opposite side of the filling when folded across, so if your strands are a little too long, feel free to trim slightly.
6/ Plait the strands across the filling alternating sides as you go, and brushing the underside tip of each strand with egg as you go to keep it all in place. Avoid stretching the pastry as you fold, becasue you’ll end up with lanky legs and patchy pastry!
7/ Once at the end, fold the remaining loose ends underneath, and brush the whole plait with egg.
8/ Sprinkle grated cheese and cracked black pepper along the length of the plait.
9/ Bake until golden brown – probably about 20 minutes, but check the instructions on your ready-to-roll pastry pack to be sure.
10/ Leave to cool before slicing.
11/ Whip up a jug of winter pimms, and enjoy a festive picnic!