|55g / 2oz cooking margarine (e.g. Stork)|
|55g / 2oz refined cooking fat / lard (e.g. Cookeen)|
|220g / 8oz plain flour|
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
|250g / 9oz good quality sausage meat (see Cook's Notes) or four chunky sausages.|
|Small amount of milk or a lightly whisked egg.|
The quality of sausage meat varies considerably depending on where you buy it and how much you are willing to pay. Without a doubt your local butcher is the best source of good quality sausage meat. Our butcher simply grinds some good quality pork and then blends it with onions, herbs and his own special ingredients.
We were astonished though when we visited Sainsbury's in very late October to pick up the ingredients for this recipe. We looked for sausage meat and found none. When we asked where it was we were told they did not stock it at this time of year because it was seasonal! If you end up in this situation then buy sausages instead, skin them and use their sausage meat. Choose thick sausages because they are far easier and quicker to skin compared to small thin ones.
Another alternative is to make your own. A basic recipe would be 250g of pork, quarter of an onion very finely chopped, two teaspoons of finely chopped sage (plus a few other herbs if you have them) plus a good helping of salt and pepper. Experiment by adding some minced bacon or finely chopped apple.
Step by step pictures on making the shortcrust pastry are shown in this recipe but you can also view our video above for a practical demonstration.
One question we are frequently asked is why does pastry need to be rested in the refrigerator (fridge) before rolling it out. The reason is that flour contains gluten which is very elastic. If you try and roll out pastry without letting it rest it will tend to be too elastic and difficult to roll out. In fact some chefs let pastry rest in the fridge, roll it out and then let it rest again before a final rolling. This ensures that the pastry will not shrink when it is cooked.
If you read the comments about this recipe (at the bottom of this page) left by our viewers you will see that a couple of them suggest mixing in some extra ingredients into the sausage meat. An excellent idea but don't add too much. A touch of relish or a small amount of spice can do wonders in livening up these delicious sausage rolls. So read the comments first or maybe add some special ingredient to make this YOUR sausage rolls recipe.
Recipe by David Marks.
Measure out the cooking margarine and fat, cut into small pieces and leave to one side for 10 minutes until they have warmed up a bit from the fridge. It is possible to use margarine and fat straight from the fridge but it makes mixing it with the flour much more difficult.
Incorporating air into the mixture will give you a lighter and better shortcrust pastry.
The mixture should end up as small crumbs although some larger bits may be present. Don't overdo this stage, it should only take two or three minutes.
The mix is of the correct consistency when it is in a ball and can collect all the odd bits around the bowl into one single ball.
Turn the oven on, setting it to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 for conventional ovens or 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 for fan assisted.
With your hands, pat out one portion of the pastry into a tube shape. Roll out the pastry (with a rolling pin) to just larger than 30cm / 1ft long by 10cm / 4in wide. Do the same with the other two portions of pastry. Complete accuracy is not important.
With your hands, roll one portion of the sausage meat into a tube shape about 25cm (one foot long). Do the same with the other two portions. The sausage rolls out best on top of the rolled out pastry because it does not stick and you can get the size spot on.
If you don't have a brush just dip your fingers in the milk and run them round the edges. The purpose of this is to help the edges and ends stick together.
Trim off the unfilled end bits.
Use a knife to cut a few small ridges in the top of each sausage roll, this makes them look more attractive when cooked. Brush the top of the sausage rolls with a little milk or egg to give them a golden brown colour when cooked.
Do not open the door until at least 18 minutes has passed. Sausage rolls can be eaten hot or cold. They reheat very well either in a conventional oven or a microwave.