What traditions do you have in your family? Silver coins in the Christmas Pudding? Christmas Pudding at Easter? Baileys for Santa as he gets bored of everyone leaving him whiskey? These are just a few of the things that mark the regular drumbeat of each passing year in our house. Of course, many traditions are tied to a fixed celebration date. And it wouldn't be Christmas in our house without home made sausage rolls. In fact, I think there'd be less upset if Santa didn't put in an appearance than if we didn't have sausage rolls.
I have two go to recipes for sausage rolls. Number one was traditional in my childhood home and is the one I'm sharing with you this week. It's super-simple and this is the one that's been handed over to Mini Me to take on as one of her Christmas Eve bakes. These also get made on other high days and holidays - mostly if we're out on a family day out replete with picnic (remember those?) or if there's a party in the offing (ditto).
But my personal favourite - and the one that gets many a grown man going weak at the knees - is one I've pilfered from Dan Lepard. Hot crust sausage rolls. These little beauties are covered in home made rough-puff pastry, spiked with paprika and chilli which give your lips a lovely little after-tingle. Hubby and his best mate are now not able to go on their annual outing to Thruxton without them. I also have to send a care package to Hubby's best mate's dad on Thruxton day. My old work colleagues from the days when I worked with Hubby regularly tell me they miss me - but only for my sausage rolls. That lot can demolish a triple batch in half an hour.
The Lepard recipe is a bit involved as you make the pastry from scratch. I'm rubbish with pastry and mostly subscribe to Mary Berry's mantra that life is too short to make (filo) pastry (I didn't quite hear the filo bit and generally apply this rule across the board). But I make an exception for these sausage rolls as you can't buy paprika pastry from either that well-known brand or as bog-standard supermarket pastry. It will take a few hours as the pastry needs to be rolled and folded several times and then rested in between. It's quite therapeutic - and what better time to do it when you've likely got a bit of free time on your hands. It can also be frozen once made - fold into a block then wrap tightly in two layers of clingfilm and then pop in a ziplock bag, squeezing the air out. To defrost, pop in the fridge overnight and then use plenty of flour when rolling as it may get a little sticky.
So, if you're off on an isolated lockdown picnic - or just picnicking in your garden, give either of these recipes a try. Our family ones are dead simple, the hot crust sausage rolls are definitely worth the effort if you have a little time and a pair of cold hands.
Simple sausage rolls
500g puff pastry (regular - all butter just leaks butter everywhere!)
500g good quality pork sausages
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Strip the sausages of their casings. Roll the dough to about 30cm by 45cm and cut into three 30cm by 15cm strips.
Divide the meat into three, roll each piece into a stick about 30cm long, and lay one in the centre of each dough strip.
Fold the dough around the meat, to enclose the filling, and seal with water.
Cut each roll into six and place seam-side down on the oven tray.
Brush with egg, slash the tops and bake at 180c fan (gas mark 6) for 25 minutes
The sausage rolls can also be frozen at the end of step 5. Defrost in the fridge, glaze and bake as above.